Our Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) software provides an easy-to-use web-based data analysis tool, geared toward middle and high school students, and aimed at teachers and curriculum developers. CODAP is already full of amazing features. We’re excited to announce several new features! Continue reading
We are excited to announce that the Concord Consortium’s High-Adventure Science modules are now available on the National Geographic Education website, thanks to a National Science Foundation-funded partnership with National Geographic Education. High-Adventure Science modules have been used by thousands of students so far, and we welcome the opportunity to share our modules with a wider audience of middle and high school teachers and students. All modules will continue to be available on the High-Adventure Science website.
High-Adventure Science: Bringing contemporary science into the classroom
Each week-long High-Adventure Science module is built around an important unanswered question in Earth or environmental science; topics include fresh water availability, climate change, the future of our energy sources, air quality, land management, and the search for life in the universe.
Throughout each module, students learn about the framing question, experiment with interactive computer models, analyze real world data, and attempt to answer the same questions as research scientists. We don’t expect that students will be able to answer the framing questions at the end of the module (after all, scientists are still working to answer them!); rather, we want to engage students in the process of doing science, building arguments around evidence and data and realizing that not knowing the answers (uncertainty) drives scientific progress.
To that end, each module (and associated pre- and post-tests) contains several scientific argumentation item sets. The argumentation item set, with multiple-choice and open-ended questions, prompts students to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the provided data (graphs, models, tables, or text). Our research has shown that, after using High-Adventure Science modules, students improve both their understanding of the science content and their scientific argumentation skills. Register for a free account on the High-Adventure Science portal for access to pre- and post-tests.
Expanded teacher resources through National Geographic Education
Partnering with National Geographic Education has allowed us to provide more support for teachers. On the National Geographic Education website, you’ll find in-depth teaching tips, background information, vocabulary definitions, and links to the standards (NSES, Common Core, ISTE, and NGSS) to which our curricula are aligned. Additionally, each module is linked to related resources in the National Geographic catalog, greatly expanding the resources available to both teachers and students.
Teachers have been excited about the models, real world data, and the argumentation prompts that get students to focus on the evidence when making a scientific claim. (You can hear directly from one of the High-Adventure Science field test teachers at NSTA!)
Come see us at NSTA in Nashville, TN, this week! Stop by the National Geographic booth or come to a presentation about using High-Adventure Science modules in your classroom:
- “High-Adventure Science: Free Simulations Exploring Earth’s Systems and Sustainability” on Thursday, March 31, from 12:30-1:00 PM in Music City Center, 106A
- “Integrating Literacy Standards in Science” on Sunday, April 3, from 8:00-9:00 AM in Music City Center, 209A
|An array of heliostats in Energy2D (online simulation)|
|Image credit: Wikipedia|
A heliostat in Energy2D contains a planar mirror mounted on a pillar. You can drop one in at any location. Once you specify its target, it will automatically reflect any sunlight beam hitting on it to the target.
Strictly speaking, heliostats are different from solar trackers that automatically face the sun like sunflowers. But in Energy2D, if no target is specified, as is the default case, a heliostat becomes a solar tracker. Unlike heliostats, solar trackers are often used with photovoltaic (PV) panels that absorb, instead of reflecting, sunlight that shine on them. A future version of Energy2D will include the capacity of modeling PV power plants as well.
This video only shows the daily thermal breathing of a house. Considering the seasonal change of temperature, we may also definite a concept "annual thermal breathing," which describes this behavior on an annual basis.
This breathing metaphor may help students build a more vivid mental picture of the dynamic heat exchange between a house and the environment. Interestingly, it was only after I realized this thermal visualization feature in Energy3D that this metaphor came to my mind. This experience reflects the importance of doing in science and engineering: Ideas often do not emerge until we get something concrete done. This process of externalization of thinking is critically important to the eventual internalization of ideas or concepts.
|Fig. 1: Particle advection behind two obstacles.|
Our Energy2D can simulate advection as it integrates particle dynamics in the Lagrangian frame and fluid dynamics in the Eulerian frame. Particles in Energy2D do not spontaneously diffuse -- they are driven by gravity or fluid, though we can introduce Brownian particles in the future by incorporating the Langevin Equation into Energy2D.
|Fig. 2: Blowing away particles.|
Figure 1 shows a comparison of particle advection behind a turbulent flow and a streamlined flow. Have you ever seen these kinds of patterns in rivers?
Figure 2 shows how particles of different densities separate when you blow them with a fan. There are six particle feeders at the top that continually drop particles. A fan is placed not far below the feeders.
With these new additions to Energy2D, we hope to be able to simulate more complex atmospheric phenomena (such as pollutant transport through jet streams) in the future.
All these beautiful structures were designed from scratch (NOT imported from other sources) by Cormac Paterson using our Energy3D CAD software.
He is only 16 years old. (We have his parents' permission to reveal his name and his work.)
|Fig. 1: Swirling flows form between two opposite fans.|
To add a fan to the scene, use the Insert Menu to drop a fan to the last clicked location. You can then drag it anywhere and resize it any way. By default, the velocity of a fan is zero. You will need to set its velocity in the popup window that can be opened using the right-click popup menu. Currently, however, rotation has not been implemented, so a fan can only blow in four directions: left, right, up, or down -- the direction depends on the aspect ratio of the fan's shape and the value of the velocity.
|Fig. 2: Eddy formation in a hole.|
For example, Figure 1 shows the continuous formation of swirling flows between two fans that blow wind in the opposite direction. If you move the fans further apart, you will find that the swirling pattern will not form. Could the mechanism shown in this simulation be related to the formation of certain types of twisters?
|Fig. 3: Eddy formation behind a fin.|
|Predicted and measured average daily insolation for 80 cities.|
With this crystal ball in the hand to predict solar radiation anywhere anytime with a reasonable accuracy, Energy3D can be used by professional engineers for real-world applications related to solar energy, such as passive solar architecture, urban planning, solar park optimization, solar thermal power plants, and so on. Stay tuned for our future reports of those applications.
Go to Part I and Part II.
|Figure 1: Moving sensors facing a rectangular radiator.|
In radiative heat transfer, a view factor between two surfaces A and B is the proportion of the radiation which leaves surface A that strikes surface B. If the two surfaces face each other directly, the view factor is greater than the case in which they do not. If the two surfaces are closer, the view factor is greater.
|Figure 2: Rotating sensors inside and outside a ring radiator.|
Figure 1 shows a moving sensor and a rotating sensor, as well as the data they record. A third sensor is also placed to the right of an object that is being heated by the radiator. This object has an emissivity of one so it also radiates. Its radiation flux is recorded by the third sensor whose data shows a slowly increasing heat flux as the object slowly warms up.
As an interesting test case, Figure 2 shows two rotating sensors, one placed precisely at the center of a ring radiator and the other outside. The almost steady line recorded by the first sensor suggests that the view factor at the center does not change, which makes sense. The small sawtooth shape is due to the limitation of discretization in our numerical simulation.
|Figure 1: A demo simulation.|
|Figure 2: Setting the temperature coefficient.|
Figure 1 shows the comparison of the temperature increasing in a PTC heater, a constant-power heater, and a NTC heater, with the temperature coefficients being 0.1, 0, and -0.1, respectively. Note that in the case of constant power, the temperature increases linearly in time (as per the definition of constant power), whereas PTC and NTC exhibit nonlinear behaviors.
You can click the link under the image to run the simulation yourself.