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Virtual Labs: Electricity teaches kids about electricity by presenting them with simulations of how pieces of electrical equipment work together. The lessons begin with basic circuits but become more relevant to complicated systems found in real-life as the program progresses in difficulty. Eventually the software program allows students to develop models of circuits found in doorbells, holiday lights, and cars.
Virtual Labs: Electricity uses several strategies to teach kids. If students are independent and familiar with electric circuits, they can put together their own simulations of circuits by clicking and dragging labeled icons that specify types of equipment -- wires, ammeters, resistors, batteries and more. Less experienced students can work through an exhaustive list of experiments that Edmark has placed in the school-version of the program. These lessons include thinking questions and challenges. The program also includes a "Sci-Clopedia" that teaches students about the physics of electricity and articles on electricity from the World Book Encyclopedia.
The school-version of the program provides students with clear instructions for exploring important concepts. For example, to understand parallel circuits, kids must build a simulation of a parallel circuit by following detailed instructions. After they build the circuit, kids must answer questions about what happens when one light in the circuit is turned off. Virtual Labs: Electricity also includes hidden assessments for students -- one activity, "Broken? Fix It!" requires students to remedy two circuits that do not work and were supposedly put together by "amateurs." The binder accompanying the school-version software provides teachers with solution sets to questions in such activities.
The software, particularly the school version, is a treasure chest for teachers. A teacher could use these virtual experiments throughout a unit on electricity. The software is especially useful to a teacher because lesson plans are included, as are assessments. Teachers can refer a student to the "Sci-clopedia" if the kid wants to research the physics of electricity. The school-version binder also describes "Away-from-the-Computer" activities that supplement each experiment presented in the software.
Kids will most likely need help navigating through the program and will also need an adult to pace them through the lessons and activities.
PC: Windowss® 95/98 or later, 486/66 or faster cpu, 10 MB hard drive space, 16 MB RAM, 640x480, 256-color display, 2X or faster CD-ROM, Windows-compatible sound card .return to top of page
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