About the Exploring Physics Curriculum App

Work with cool hands-on materials, take hold of your own learning – and do it in a digital environment. That’s the Exploring Physics App. And the content covers a full year’s conceptual physics curriculum. We wrote the Exploring Physics App for the digital medium, so we could exploit its full potential. For 8th grade through early college.

Starting Fall 2015, nine units will be released:

Unit 1: Introduction to Electricity (available Fall 2015)

The Introduction to Electricity unit covers the concepts of closed circuits and electrical contact points, and uses bulbs, switches, batteries, buzzers, motors, LEDs and photoresistors to demonstrate how electrical circuits power real-life objects. Learn about battery voltage, electrodes, electrolytes, and how batteries work. Several Introduction to Electricity activities can be done with our unique, custom-made Puzzle Board kit. The Battery Experiment Kit can be used to make batteries out of everyday materials.

Unit 2: Electrical Circuits (available Fall 2016)

The Electrical Circuits unit covers concepts of voltage, current, simple and mixed series and parallel circuits, and electrical resistance. Learn how to make your own circuits, measure power and energy in an electrical circuit, and much more with the Electrical Circuits Unit, which can be done with the Simple Circuits Kit.

Unit 3: Uniform Motion (available Fall 2015)

The Uniform Motion unit covers concepts of constant-speed motion. Using bubble tubes and battery cars, learn how to measure speed, represent uniform motion with motion diagrams, position-time and velocity-time graphs. Later in the unit, learn to mathematically calculate the factors involved in uniform motion, including displacement, velocity, and average speed.

Unit 4: Accelerated Motion (available Fall 2015)

The Accelerated Motion unit covers concepts of changing velocity and constant acceleration. Using toy cars, ramps, spark timers and motion detectors learn about accelerated motion using motion diagrams and position-time, velocity-time and acceleration-time graphs. Later in the unit, learn to mathematically calculate the factors involved in accelerated motion using motion equations. 

Unit 5: Forces and Newton's Laws (available Fall 2016)

The Forces and Newton’s Laws unit addresses the types and characteristics of forces and the connection between forces and motion. Use a variety of everyday materials, spring scales, force probes, tracks and motion detectors, to learn about the factors that affect a few common forces such as gravity and the elastic force. Later in the unit, learn how to represent forces through force diagrams, verbal descriptions, graphs, pictures and mathematical models. Finally, learn about Newton’s three laws through hands-on classic experiments. 

Unit 6: Applications of Newton's Laws (available Summer 2017)

The Applications of Newton’s Laws – Free Fall and Projectile Motion unit covers the concepts that relate force and motion in free fall and in projectile motion. Using balls, spark timers, motion detectors and photogates, learn about vertical motion under gravity and about the two-dimensional trajectories of projectiles. Later in the unit, learn to describe the motion using verbal descriptions, motion diagrams, force diagrams and graphs. Then learn to mathematically calculate displacement, velocity and acceleration of these falling bodies. 

Unit 7: Momentum (available Fall 2017)

The Momentum unit addresses what happens in a collision between two or more objects. Use a variety of everyday materials to learn about the factors that affect collisions. Later in the unit, learn how to calculate momentum and impulse and how to relate change in momentum to forces in collisions. 

Unit 8: Energy (available Spring 2017)

The Energy unit addresses energy transfer, transformation and storage. Using everyday materials, toys, spring scales, ramps and tracks to learn about work, gravitational potential energy, elastic potential energy, kinetic energy and power. Learn to analyze systems and energy changes using pie charts and bar graphs. Later in the unit learn to mathematically describe several kinds of energy.

Unit 9: Waves (available in 2019)

The Waves eUnit addresses the characteristics of waves, the factors that affect the reflection, refraction, transmission and superposition of waves. Using springs, snakeys, slinkies, microphones and ray boxes, learn about mechanical waves, sound waves and light.

The Exploring Physics App is an interactive inquiry- and modeling-based conceptual physics curriculum. It combines hands-on activities with a discussion-based pedagogy where students construct mental models of scientific concepts. The app is constructed so that students input their ideas into the app in text, drawings, and graphs – so the app works as a workbook, lab book and textbook all in one!

Here are all the things we have bundled into this app that no other interactive curriculum app does:

A truly interactive curriculum app. Interactive means that you can feed it information just as it can feed it to you, on demand. Enter information as text, drawings, equations and graphs. Get just-in-time information at a tap of the finger or mouse, including the media that you have come to expect in an app.

Research-based inquiry and modeling based curriculum. We believe that students learn by doing. To learn physics concepts, the Exploring Physics App takes students through a pre-lab discovery process, makes them design an experiment, and provides questions for a post-lab discussion so they can arrive at the concept by analyzing their own data. Students then apply the concept through practice problems, reading pages and further experimentation.

Hands-on labs, Reading Pages, Practice Problems, Student Summaries – coherently arranged to learn physics through a concept-building process, deep content background, and concept deployment. Student discussion, whiteboarding and Socratic dialogue are an integral part of this curriculum. The app makes it all easy to deploy.
Just-in-time definitions, problem-solving movies, animations and simulations. Use the power of the digital medium.

Hybrid offline-online access. Internet is not needed to access the app, enter or save your entries. Internet access is required only intermittently, for example to update the app or the e-books, to submit answers to the teacher, or to receive the teacher’s feedback. Do homework on the bus, if you like.

Resources for the teacher. Teacher pages for each activity includes learning objectives, a movie on the lab setup and analysis, help with conducting the activity using a modeling-based pedagogy, and a summary of the concepts addressed in the practice problems. But there’s more – a Unit story line, unit learning goals and objectives, big ideas, Next Generation Science Standards and Mathematics Common Core alignment for each activity, materials lists, and problem sets for assessment. The teacher portal allows electronic grading of student submissions, returning assignments to students, and online web-accessible record keeping.

Each eUnit includes:

  • Hands-on student labs
  • Inquiry-based experimental design activities
  • Practices — problem-solving activities
  • Student Reading Pages
  • Student Summary Pages
  • Teacher Resources
Each activity contains:

  • Appropriate conceptual information
  • A rich collection of animations and figures
  • Useful instructions on equipment
  • Several quantitative activities
  • Handy teacher hints
  • Activities for assessment
Teacher Information:

  • Big Ideas
  • Storyline
  • Common Misconceptions
  • Materials lists
  • Next Generation Science Standards and Math Common Core Alignment
  • Teacher Pages for each activity, including movies on setting up labs

  • Teachers, parents and students in grades 9-12, and early college
  • Faculty providing professional development for conceptual physics

Based on inquiry and modeling pedagogies, the curriculum is structured to allow students to construct their own learning with teacher guidance. Students learn physics concepts by exploring the concept with familiar materials, designing and then conducting an laboratory experiment, and then analyzing the data they obtain to learn the concept. Each mathematical formula is derived by the student by conducting an experiment. The process is guided by questions that students answer and discuss based on their observations. Thus each lab allows students to construct a mental model of the concept. They then deploy the concept through further activities or practice problems. Reading pages guide the student to more complex analysis. Practice problem sets can be used as assessments or practices.

Using the App in your classroom
The App has a teacher and a student version. The teacher version includes the Teacher Information listed above and access to a web-based teacher portal for grading and record-keeping. It is otherwise identical to the student version.

Alignment to Standards
Next Generation Science Standards | Mathematics Common Core Standards

System Requirements
iOS 8.0 or newer for iPad | Android 4.4 (KitKat) or newer | Windows 7 or newer | Mac OSX 10.7 or newer

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)