Explore Learning Gizmos


Since 2008, I have been honored to work with Explore Learning in Charlottesville, VA on a variety of learning modules called Gizmos.  Gizmos are fun, interactive, themed learning activities designed to teach specific math and science topics.  Some of my favorite Gizmos include

Toy Factory (shooting toys out of a cartoonish machine required some interesting dynamic path animation)

Cannonball Clowns (more dynamic path animation for shooting a clown across a field)

Factor Trees (prime factorization, rendering and spatially compressing binary trees)

No Alien Left Behind (due to time constraints, I was forced to work on a lot of the hand animation in this Gizmo – piecewise path animation was interesting)

Reaction Time (simulating a ruler drop was cool – good old gravity and Newton’s laws)

Measuring Volume (a host of interesting problems from pouring models to quad beziers to emulate a meniscus, to animating drop-and-bounce of an object off a container)

Unit Conversions (I liked the dynamic drawing of the strike-through for the dynamically rendered tiles)

Boyle’s Law (one of the views in this Gizmo used the graphing engine I developed for EL)

Ripple Tank (I enjoyed working with the science curriculum staff who developed a 2d-grid model for the differential equations governing wave motion, and I actually learned a lot about fluids)

In addition to helping educate a new generation of children, I liked the melding of applied math principles with software development in the course of creating these Gizmos.

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