Free Education Resources From the Tech Museum

The Tech Museum's mission is to encourage an interest in science and technology in people of all ages. By providing free educational resources for both parents and teachers, this California-based museum is giving them the opportunity to promote learning in these subjects.


Resources for Teachers

It can be difficult to get kids excited about science or technology by just reading about the subjects in a textbook, but hands-on activities can open their eyes and make them see these areas as fun. The learning page of The Tech Museum's website includes a 'Cool Stuff for the Classroom' section where teachers can find activities they can do with their students.

These activities focus on different grade levels and cover a variety of topics, including electricity, buoyancy, the human body and motion. Students can learn about physics through the activity 'Physics of Roller Coasters.' Another activity, 'Free Up the Ketchup,' focuses on Newton's first law of motion.

Teachers are able to download documents that give detailed information about each activity. For instance, the download for 'Physics of Roller Coasters' explains the education outcomes, the design challenges, how the activity can meet certain educational standards, the materials needed, a lesson plan, questions to ask students, mini lessons and post-lesson activities. It also includes a section of notes for the teacher and velocity investigation worksheets.

Resources for Parents

The section 'Science @ Home Activities' gives parents ways to stimulate their children's interests in science and technology. Activities focus on building, the five senses and Origami projects. One of the activities is 'Water Whirlie,' where parents help their children create a cup with a long string handle that they fill part way with water. When it's swung, the water doesn't spill out, helping kids learn about centripetal and centrifugal forces.

Some of the activities are made for children as young as three and there are also downloads available in English and Spanish. The activities explain the appropriate ages of the children participating, the estimated completion time, the materials needed and what children will learn. Step-by-step instructions are also given.

Many of these activities only require a few materials. For instance, all that's needed for 'Water Whirlie' is a plastic cup, a three to four foot long string and a hole punch or pair of scissors. This means parents don't have to spend a lot of money to complete the tasks. These activities can give parents ideas for different things to do with kids at home to keep them from feeling bored while encouraging learning at the same time.

Teachers looking for more resources should check out these iPhone apps that can help in the classroom.

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