Energy: Stop Faking It!
The first of two Web Seminars on Energy: Stop Faking
It! was held on Thursday, May 18, 2006, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.
The presenter was Bill Robertson, author of the popular NSTA Press series Stop Faking
It! Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It. Robertson focused his presentation
on simple machines, while spending some time to review the concepts of kinetic energy,
potential energy, and work. Among the participants were a few teachers who had attended
the face-to-face symposium at the NSTA National Conference
in Science Education in Anaheim, CA.
The session started with a general overview of the NSTA Web Seminar tools and how
they can be used to facilitate interaction between the participants and the presenters.
Fifty-eight participants were present in addition to the presenters and the NSTA
staff. Participating educators represented the states of California, Delaware, Florida,
Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada,
New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. One
educator joined the presentation from Canada.
Robertson started the presentation giving the participants a review of the concepts
of kinetic energy, potential energy, and work. He concluded that energy regularly
goes from one form to another. To show this, he used drawings with several examples,
like a book sliding over the floor, two vehicles crashing, and a pendulum. Robertson
began the discussion about simple machines with a pencil, a ruler, working as a
lever to lift a rock. These slides elicited many questions from the audience. He
continued to define work as the net force multiplied by the distance the object
moves in the direction of the force. And furthermore, he concluded that if heat
losses due to friction are ignored, then the work done on the system equals work
done by the system, or simply, that work in equals work out. At this point, Robertson
introduced the mathematical formula to describe this relationship: F1d1=F2d2.
Robertson continued the presentation with several examples using a lever and the
mathematical formula describe above to ask the participants questions about the
values of the forces and the distances displayed. He later used a drawing of a pulley
and explained how it works. The last few slides displayed examples of other simple
machines, like a toenail clipper, a bottle opener, and a pair of scissors, etc.
Throughout the presentation there were several opportunities for the participants
to interact with each other and with the presenter by chatting, stamping, and marking.
The presenter also answered questions via the chat for 15 minutes after the program
Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:
- "I like the web seminar the best of all the online formats I have participated in.
It is a great way to share information and still be able to communicate with others
in multiple modes."
"I'm really excited about the idea of people from absolutely anywhere being able
to participate in real-time. I took the class as much for an opportunity to see
how this works as for the content. I think there is a ton of potential here."
"Great opportunity for new teachers to learn from peers and professionals. Web seminar
gave real tools that can be utilized in classroom by teacher at any level."
"This web seminar helped to review me on work, kinetic and potential energy. Those
were always hard for me to understand when I was in high school."
Thanks to the participants and to Bill Robertson for the learning opportunity, the
interactions, and a job well done!
Web Seminar I Resources
See a recorded version of the Web Seminar.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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Underwritten in part by NSTA Press