Students love making things. What if there was a free software for PC and Mac that allowed students to use their imaginations to create mechanical contraptions and structures that could be brought to life and tested? How engaging could that be? Well from experience of using Algodoo in classrooms, the answer is, very!
” Algodoo is a really useful demonstrating tool in science. For example, to investigate light passing through a prism. The children can follow step by step instructions in the tutorials, then spend time exploring the software independently. “Kim, Primary Teacher
So let’s take a look! Here is a video (4 mins) showing how it works and how it can be used in a lesson about bridges.
Algodoo blends the fun and engagement of world building video games with high end physics simulation. It features all manner of things – gears, pulleys, chains,. ropes. springs, motors, wheels, axles, light beams, prisms, water… even rocket motors, along with gravity and air resistance. These can be combined in almost limitless ways.
TIP: You can ‘liquify’ objects in Algodoo to simulate the flow of fluids.
How about modelling a hydroelectric power station? Where is the energy coming from to make the waterwheel turn?
What can we learn about gears? If I turn the red gear clockwise, what direction will the green gear turn? Will it turn faster or slower?
What are the three different types of levers? Which is most like a see-saw?
How does fibre optic communication work? Can you see how the light beam bounces along inside the glass fibre?
The software can even produce graphs and plots allowing students to generate data evidence to help them accurately assess different design variables or ideas.
This rocket car graph of speed and time is not a straight line. What might be causing the car to accelerate less as it gets faster?
Where can I get it?
Algodoo is free to download for both Windows PCs and laptops and Apple computers. Ideal for use with whiteboards.
There is an app version of Algodoo for iPads for purchase on the App Store that is identical to the computer versions, making it perfect for use in a classroom with mixed technology.
We have also tested it on the very latest M2 Mac. Just let the Mac install Rosetta when it asks.
Will it work with my interactive whiteboard or panel?
Oh yes. It is made for it!
If you have an interactive display, you can expect a long line of students demanding time on it as soon as they see it working as Algodoo is perfect for hands on use. It is even better if your display is multitouch as several students can interact with it at the same time!
Getting started: Don’t skip the tutorials
The best way to introduce yourself and your students to the features of Algodoo is to try the built in interactive tutorials. These should take about 15-20 mins to complete and they can be revisited at any time. Just look for the help icon at the top of the screen.
Going further: Downloading and exploring lessons
In the main menu of Algodoo you will find a lessons icon. From there you can access hundreds of virtual experiments to help you get started or to see how other educators have used the software. You can filter by language and age range to find things that might be suitable for your students or current topic.
This is software that has to be experienced. So why not download it and try it out with your class.
If you or your students do something you would like to share, we’d love to see it!
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