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Physics

Interactives for Students


Atomic Theory

Diamond Deception, The
In "See Inside a Diamond," build a carbon atom out of quarks and electrons and manipulate the three-dimensional structure of a diamond crystal. (Shockwave plug-in required for atom builder; Chime plug-in required for diamond viewer.) Grades 9-12.

Dirty Bomb
In "Sources of Radiation," learn about naturally occurring and manmade sources of radiation, their atomic nature, and what makes each type safe or harmful to life. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Elegant Universe, The: Einstein's Dream
In "Elementary Particles," find out about the properties of matter and force particles, including mass, charge, and spin. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 9-12.

Elegant Universe, The: String's the Thing
In "Resonance in Strings," see how resonance affects both an everyday string and the tiny strings of superstring theory. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Fire Wars
In "On Fire," explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, how a molecule's atoms rearrange themselves during combustion, and what a flame is made of. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Fireworks!
In "On Fire," explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, how a molecule's atoms rearrange themselves during combustion, and what a flame is made of. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Mystery of the First Americans
In "The Dating Game," learn how carbon-dating works. (Shockwave plug-in required; non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Russia's Nuclear Warriors
In "From First Alert to Missile Launch," experience in real time an imaginary tense 10 minutes of a launch-on-warning scenario within Russia. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Science Odyssey, A: Mysteries of the Universe
In "Atom Builder," start with a hydrogen atom and add protons, neutrons, and electrons (in the form of quarks) to build a carbon atom. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 9-12.

Search for a Safe Cigarette
In "On Fire," explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, how a molecule's atoms rearrange themselves during combustion, and what a flame is made of. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Why the Towers Fell
In "The Structure of Metal," explore the crystalline structure of metal and find out what gives it its characteristics and how it behaves under stress of heat and outside forces. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Energy

Absolute Zero
In "A Sense of Scale," explore the range between absolute zero to what the theoretical highest possible temperature. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Battle Plan Under Fire
In "Imaging with Radar," explore a synthetic aperture radar image of Washington, D.C., and learn about how these images are made. (Flash plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Beast of Loch Ness
In "Experiment with Sonar," see how sonar works and what it is used for. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Death Star
In "Tour the Spectrum," take a tour of the electromagnetic spectrum from radio waves through gamma rays and find examples of man-made and natural sources of each. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Dirty Bomb
In "Sources of Radiation," learn about naturally occurring and manmade sources of radiation, their atomic nature, and what makes each type safe or harmful to life. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Einstein Revealed
In "The Light Stuff," identify which objects in a photograph will slow down light as it passes through them. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Einstein's Big Idea
In "The Power of Tiny Things," test your knowledge about the equivalence of matter and energy, including how much energy such objects as a paper clip and a penny roughly hold. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Elegant Universe, The: String's the Thing
In "Resonance in Strings," see how resonance affects both an everyday string and the tiny strings of superstring theory. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Faster Than Sound
In "Sonic Boom," learn the basics behind a sonic boom, including what the sound barrier is, how shock waves are formed, and how your ear processes sound. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Fire Wars
In "On Fire," explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, how a molecule's atoms rearrange themselves during combustion, and what a flame is made of. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Fire Wars
In "Wildfire Simulator," use a computer simulation to see how wind speed and direction can affect a fire's spread and how firelines and backfires are used to control fires. (Shockwave plug-in required; non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Fireworks!
In "On Fire," explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, how a molecule's atoms rearrange themselves during combustion, and what a flame is made of. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Lincoln's Secret Weapon
In "Steam Machine," run a reciprocating steam engine. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Origins: Where are the Aliens?
In "Decoding Cosmic Spectra," learn the basics of spectroscopy and use the technique to reveal the composition of a planet, star, galaxy, and nebula. (Flash plug-in required.) Grades 9-12.

Runaway Universe
In "Moving Targets," follow animations that describe how the Doppler Effect helps astronomers determine whether stars are moving toward or away from Earth, and at what speed. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Saved By the Sun
In "Inside a Solar Cell," find out how a basic photovoltaic cell turns the sun's energy into electricity. (Flash plug-in required; printable and downloadable versions available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Science Odyssey, A: Bigger, Better, Faster
In "Radio Transmission," follow the journey of a sound wave via AM radio. (Shockwave plug-in required; non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Search for a Safe Cigarette
In "On Fire," explore the basics of combustion, including how a fire ignites, how a molecule's atoms rearrange themselves during combustion, and what a flame is made of. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secret of Photo 51
In "Anatomy of Photo 51," learn about X-ray diffraction and follow a step-by-step explanation, accompanied by diagrams, of Photo 51. (Flash plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secret of Photo 51
In "Anatomy of Photo 51," learn about X-ray diffraction and follow a step-by-step explanation, accompanied by diagrams, of Photo 51. (Flash plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Spies That Fly
In "Imaging with Radar," explore a synthetic aperture radar image of Washington, D.C., and learn about how these images are made. (Flash plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Submarines, Secrets, and Spies
In "Sounds Underwater," answer 10 True/False questions about sound and water. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Volcano's Deadly Warning
In "Seismic Signals," see the differences among four types of earthquakes that originate within volcanoes and decipher the seismic signals they produce. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

What's Up With the Weather?
In "Your Carbon Diet," navigate around a typical New England house to find what drains energy and what can be done to make a home more energy efficient. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Wilds of Madagascar, The
In "Track the Fossa," learn the basics of radio tracking and use it to find one of the Earth's deadliest carnivores, the fossa. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8.


Flight

Battle of the X-Planes
In "Getting Airborne," learn what allows wings to pull an aircraft aloft. (Flash 5 plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Crash of Flight 111
In "Anatomy of a Jetliner," look behind the metal of a late-model Boeing 737 and explore a cutaway detailing the 12 major systems that make it tick. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Faster Than Sound
In "Sonic Boom," learn the basics behind a sonic boom, including what the sound barrier is, how shock waves are formed, and how your ear processes sound. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

MARS Dead or Alive
In "Design a Parachute," adjust canopy diameter, band width, and material thickness to construct a virtual parachute for a Mars Exploration Rover. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Nazi Prison Escape
In "The Colditz Glider," learn how a glider was fashioned out of scavenged materials, discover how wings produce lift, and work the controls of a Colditz glider. (Flash plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Supersonic Dream
In "Anatomy of a Concorde," click on a cross-section diagram of the Concorde to learn more about 10 of its features. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Supersonic Spies
In "Anatomy of a Concorde," click on parts of a Concorde to learn about its airframe, engines, fuel, nose, speed, and wings. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Top Gun Over Moscow
In "Pulling Cs and Gs," learn about centripetal and G forces. Grades 6-8.

Wings of Madness
In "Tour the Demoiselle," explore a replica of a 1909 Demoiselle #20 and discover the unique design features of the world's first ultralight sport plane. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Wright Brothers' Flying Machine
In "Getting Airborne and Wing Designs," learn what allows wings to pull an aircraft aloft and experiment with various wing designs. (Flash 5 plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Wright Brothers' Flying Machine
In "Pilot the 1903 Flyer," learn about all the parts that comprised the Wright Flyer and manipulate the airplane's controls to see how the Wright brothers piloted their plane. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Gravity and Forces

Battle of the X-Planes
In "Getting Airborne," learn what allows wings to pull an aircraft aloft. (Flash 5 plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Building Big: Bridges
In "Forces Lab," learn how squeezing, stretching, bending, sliding, and twisting forces affect structures and to see real-life examples of the effects. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Building Big: Dams
In "Shapes Lab," find out about the three most common shapes used to build structures -- rectangles, arches, and triangles -- and the forces that affect them. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Building Big: Skyscrapers
In "Loads Lab," learn how loads affect structures and see examples of loading in action, including dead load, live load, settlement load, thermal load, earthquake load, wind load, and dynamic loads. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) G

Building Big: Tunnels
In "Forces Lab," learn how squeezing, stretching, bending, sliding, and twisting forces affect structures and to see real-life examples of the effects. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Fall of the Leaning Tower
In "The Galileo Games," conduct three online experiments related to Galileo's early work on gravity, including rolling a ball down an inclined plane. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Faster Than Sound
In "Sonic Boom," learn the basics behind a sonic boom, including what the sound barrier is, how shock waves are formed, and how your ear processes sound. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Galileo's Battle for the Heavens
In "His Experiments," conduct versions of Galileo's experiments in activities that include falling objects, projectiles, inclined planes, and pendulums. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Hitler's Lost Sub
In "Fire a Torpedo," assume the role of skipper and torpedo specialist and aim and prepare a torpedo for firing. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 9-12.

Lincoln's Secret Weapon
In "Steam Machine," run a reciprocating steam engine. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Magnetic Storm
In "See a Reversal," view a computer model simulation that illustrates what happens during a magnetic field reversal. (QuickTime plug-in required; non-QuickTime version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

MARS Dead or Alive
In "Design a Parachute," adjust canopy diameter, band width, and material thickness to construct a virtual parachute for a Mars Exploration Rover. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Nazi Prison Escape
In "The Colditz Glider," learn how a glider was fashioned out of scavenged materials, discover how wings produce lift, and work the controls of a Colditz glider. (Flash plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Runaway Universe
In "Moving Targets," follow animations that describe how the Doppler Effect helps astronomers determine whether stars are moving toward or away from Earth, and at what speed. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- China Bridge
In "Bridge the Gap," learn about four major types of bridges and then match the right bridge to the right location. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Easter Island
In "Move the Moai," figure out how to move a moai across Easter Island. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Medieval Siege
In "Destroy the Castle," design a trebuchet--with five adjustable elements--to destroy a castle wall. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Pharaoh's Obelisk
In "Lever an Obelisk," use a lever, movable fulcrum, weights, and support blocks to tip an obelisk three feet off the ground. (Shockwave plug-in required; non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 6-8.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Roman Bath
In "Construct an Aqueduct," build an aqueduct that will supply the Roman city of Aqueductus with clean water. (Java applet or Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Sinking City of Venice
In "Water Logged," students track problems and proposed solutions to Venice's floodwater problems in order to better understand the complexity of resolving the city's increasing flood troubles. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Stationed in the Stars
In "Free-Falling," learn how speed contributes to keeping astronauts in continuous free-fall when orbiting the Earth. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Super Bridge
In "Build a Bridge," learn about four major types of bridges and match the right bridge to the right location. (Shockwave plug-in required; non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Supersonic Spies
In "Anatomy of a Concorde," click on parts of a Concorde to learn about its airframe, engines, fuel, nose, speed, and wings. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Time Travel
In "Think Like Einstein," look at the same puzzle and think about the same concepts Albert Einstein thought about to arrive at his special theory of relativity. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Top Gun Over Moscow
In "Pulling Cs and Gs," learn about centripetal and G forces. Grades 6-8.

Vanished!
In "Inside the Jet Stream," step through a presentation about what generates the jet stream, why if flows west to east, and more. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Wright Brothers' Flying Machine
In "Getting Airborne and Wing Designs," learn what allows wings to pull an aircraft aloft and experiment with various wing designs. (Flash 5 plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Wright Brothers' Flying Machine
In "Pilot the 1903 Flyer," learn about all the parts that comprised the Wright Flyer and manipulate the airplane's controls to see how the Wright brothers piloted their plane. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Properties of Matter

Absolute Zero
In "A Sense of Scale," explore the range between absolute zero to what the theoretical highest possible temperature. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Bombing of America, The
In "Chemical Residue," find out how chromatography can be used to trace a bomb's chemical components and learn instructions for a color separation activity. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Building Big: Domes
In "Materials Lab," discover the properties, pros and cons, and applications of various materials, such as wood, plastic, aluminum, and concrete. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Danger in the Jet Stream
In "Floating and Sinking," learn why hot-air balloons fly. (Shockwave plug-in required. Non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Descent Into the Ice
In "Life Cycle of a Glacier," follow the journey of a single snowflake as it takes a 30,000-year glacial ride. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Einstein's Big Idea
In "The Power of Tiny Things," test your knowledge about the equivalence of matter and energy, including how much energy such objects as a paper clip and a penny roughly hold. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Elegant Universe, The: Einstein's Dream
In "Elementary Particles," find out about the properties of matter and force particles, including mass, charge, and spin. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 9-12.

Elegant Universe, The: String's the Thing
In "Resonance in Strings," see how resonance affects both an everyday string and the tiny strings of superstring theory. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Hawaii Born of Fire
In "Hot Rocks," find out the differences between two types of rock--pumice and granite--and discover the properties that allow one to float while the other one sinks. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Mountain of Ice
In "Life Cycle of a Glacier," follow the journey of a single snowflake as it takes a 30,000-year ride through a glacier in Antarctica. (Flash 5 plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of the Samurai Sword
In "Making a Masterpiece," follow the steps that a master Japanese swordsmith takes today to craft a traditional katana sword. (Flash plug-in required; printable version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12

Three Men and a Balloon
In "Floating and Sinking," discover why hot-air balloons fly. (Shockwave plug-in required; non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 6-8.

Why the Towers Fell
In "The Structure of Metal," explore the crystalline structure of metal and find out what gives it its characteristics and how it behaves under stress of heat and outside forces. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.


Simple Machines

Fall of the Leaning Tower
In "The Galileo Games," conduct three online experiments related to Galileo's early work on gravity, including rolling a ball down an inclined plane. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Galileo's Battle for the Heavens
In "His Experiments," conduct versions of Galileo's experiments in activities that include falling objects, projectiles, inclined planes, and pendulums. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Lincoln's Secret Weapon
In "Steam Machine," run a reciprocating steam engine. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Pharaoh's Obelisk
In "Lever an Obelisk," use a lever, movable fulcrum, weights, and support blocks to tip an obelisk three feet off the ground. (Shockwave plug-in required; non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 6-8.


Sound

Beast of Loch Ness
In "Experiment with Sonar," see how sonar works and what it is used for. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Faster Than Sound
In "Sonic Boom," learn the basics behind a sonic boom, including what the sound barrier is, how shock waves are formed, and how your ear processes sound. Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Runaway Universe
In "Moving Targets," follow animations that describe how the Doppler Effect helps astronomers determine whether stars are moving toward or away from Earth, and at what speed. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Submarines, Secrets, and Spies
In "Sounds Underwater," answer 10 True/False questions about sound and water. Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Voyage to the Mystery Moon
In "Sounds of Titan," find out what sound is and how space affects it, listen to the Huygens' probe as it approaches moon's surface, hear what a human voice would sound like on Titan, and more in these audio features. Grades 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.


Structures

Building Big: Bridges
In "Forces Lab," learn how squeezing, stretching, bending, sliding, and twisting forces affect structures and to see real-life examples of the effects. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Building Big: Dams
In "Shapes Lab," find out about the three most common shapes used to build structures -- rectangles, arches, and triangles -- and the forces that affect them. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Building Big: Domes
In "Materials Lab," discover the properties, pros and cons, and applications of various materials, such as wood, plastic, aluminum, and concrete. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Building Big: Skyscrapers
In "Loads Lab," learn how loads affect structures and see examples of loading in action, including dead load, live load, settlement load, thermal load, earthquake load, wind load, and dynamic loads. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) G

Building Big: Tunnels
In "Forces Lab," learn how squeezing, stretching, bending, sliding, and twisting forces affect structures and to see real-life examples of the effects. (Flash plug-in required; non-Flash version available.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- China Bridge
In "Bridge the Gap," learn about four major types of bridges and then match the right bridge to the right location. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Easter Island
In "Move the Moai," figure out how to move a moai across Easter Island. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Medieval Siege
In "Destroy the Castle," design a trebuchet--with five adjustable elements--to destroy a castle wall. (Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 6-8, 9-12.

Secrets of Lost Empires II -- Roman Bath
In "Construct an Aqueduct," build an aqueduct that will supply the Roman city of Aqueductus with clean water. (Java applet or Shockwave plug-in required.) Grades 3-5, 6-8.

Super Bridge
In "Build a Bridge," learn about four major types of bridges and match the right bridge to the right location. (Shockwave plug-in required; non-Shockwave version available.) Grades 3-5, 6-8.


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