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This science program for upper-elementary and middle-school aged children, presents the fundamentals of physics in an interactive text-book fashion. The main screen is an overview of a small home. Each of the areas within the home represents a different 'chapter' in the World of Physics. Users move their cursor around the room and click on the areas they choose to explore. For example, in the bathroom, the user can learn about "Everyday Plumbing", while in the kitchen they will confront "Irresistible Pressure".
Each topic area is further broken down into many sub-topics. Information is presented in a variety of ways. In some cases a principle is explained with simple animation and narration, while at other times an illustration and accompanying text are used. Often a story is used to help illustrates a principle: When King Hiero wanted to know whether a crown given to him was pure gold or a lead and gold alloy he turned to Archimedes, who applied his principle (Archimedes' Principle) to uncover the truth. This brief story, and others like it, help young users better grasp a potentially difficult new principle.
The Phenomenal World of Physics provides a dictionary section which is linked throughout the program to new and/or difficult terminology, scientists' names, etc. Also included is a supplemental Physics Word Games program which includes a number of games and puzzles that use terms learned in The Phenomenal World of Physics.
Also included is a "CyberEditor" which allows students to copy anything from the CD-ROM--text, drawings, photographs, and even films and paste it into a word processing document.
Our student testers were generally impressed by the program, however many reported that it is not one that they are likely to use again. Those who did plan to return to the program also found the topics interesting and would like to learn more about them and about physics in general.
PC: Windows 95 (or better), Pentium Processor (or better), 12 MB RAM (or more), Color Monitor 640 x 480 display, 256 colors (or better), 4X (or faste) CD-ROM.return to top of page
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