Friday, 15 October 2004

Turn it to a Learning Object - 2

Another great example of what eLearning should be via Furl: How was this photograph created?

This photograph and a simple question ignited a series of interesting exchange in the forum.

When I was teaching Physics in the good old days, I used to create simple puzzles by filling cans with different substances and asked the students to do various experiments (without opening the can) to guess what were inside the cans. I asked them to note down all the experiments they did. They then needed to hand in a report which should describe a set of experiments which would lead to their conclusion. They were asked only to list those experiments which were useful in leading to the conclusion and should NOT include any experiments which did not help.

I then asked them to exchange their "report" - together with the can - with another group. They then followed the report from the other group to see if they could come up with the same conclusion.

It was fun. One of the major surprises to the students were how many dead-ends they needed to make before they could come up with an "elegant" set of experiments to illustrate their conclusion. Isn't it what science is?

Some examples of the cans (these are all cylindrical cans) are:

  • half filled with sand

  • filled with sand

  • half filled with water

  • filled with water

  • wax soldified at the bottom of can (half filled the can)

  • wax soldified along half of the can "length-wise"

  • a ping pong ball suspended by elastic string between the bottom and the cover of the can

  • filled with some sand and stone

  • filled with metal nails

  • My laboratory assistant came up with about 20 different variations...

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