Physics has always been the science discipline that students dreaded most, in fact, more than all the others combined. It has been seen as extremely complex and difficult to comprehend, requiring a superior intellect and the need to compute long and convoluted equations. Those who showed an aptitude for physics and were able to master its intricacies were inevitably seen as nerds.
Now, after seven seasons on the air, the immensely popular Big Bang Theory TV show has made physics cool. Complex physics concepts like the Doppler effect, the Schrodinger’s cat paradox, string theory, and quantum mechanics have become commonplace terms for fans of the show. While introduced for maximum comedic effect, all the physics concepts are accurate and vetted by a physics professor who makes sure that the scientific jargon and concepts, and even the equations on the whiteboards, are accurate. The characters go beyond being stereotypical nerds to emerge as quirky and loveable. A new generation of kids is viewing physics in an entirely different light as a result, and university physics programs are reporting increased interest and enrollment.
With kids showing greater interest in physics, the time is right to introduce the newest iPad app from Sprout Labs, Light Sound HD, which puts physics concepts at the fingertips of elementary school kids. The “Did You Know” snippets at the bottom of each page enhance learning by presenting brief interesting facts such as that primary colors red, yellow and blue can be combined to create black (in the Light section) and that snakes don’t have ears; they pick up vibrations through their jawbones (in the Sound section). Through compelling videos from Ted-Ed, Explainer TV, DNews and NASAconnect, kids can explore a variety of topics from light waves and mirages, to how sound shatters glass and sonic booms. The ArtScienceFun video explains the science behind mirages in a conversational, easy to understand format. The BrainStuff video presents an easy, humorous way to calculate how far sound travels and how this information can be used to calculate the distance of a lightning strike.
The app offers multiple ways to access learning including reading, touching, seeing, watching, and testing their knowledge through quizzes, thus accommodating a variety of different learning styles.
For teachers, the Sprout Labs iPad app is an invaluable companion to classroom teaching, reinforcing concepts and facts in a play environment that is sure to engage students.