Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Physics Applets

A number of professors at Virginia Tech have developed applet activities for students in physics, engineering, and math. The site comes recommended, especially for freshmen and sophomores, by CHOICE. Evolving from a project funded by the National Science Foundation, the programs demonstrate cases in fluid dynamics, statics, and dynamics. For example, the projectile motion program allows the user to set the speed, angle, and draw. A line of the projectile will be drawn and calculations for range, flight time, and maximum height are displayed. See the image below for a speed of 90 ft/s, an angle of 55 degrees, and a draw of 0.10.

The applications can be awkward to use. In the projectile applet, more curves can be added by redrawing with different values, however it is not easy to clear the application. Some of the applets have instructions whereas others rely on your knowledge to activate. Nevertheless, this programs may prove helpful for students who learn better with visual imagery.

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