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Atlanta Teacher Uses Angry Birds for Physics Lessons

A ninth-grade physics teacher at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta uses the addictive game to teach the laws of projectile motion.

Addicted to playing Angry Birds? Maybe a better question might be, who isn't addicted to the game? And savvy science teachers are capitalizing on the Angry Birds phenomenon by using it to teach physics lessons.

"What are the laws of physics in the Angry Birds world?" John Burk, a ninth-grade physics teacher at the private Westminster Schools in Atlanta, put that question to his students and gave them the chance to "be among the first to find the answer." Burk became interested in using Angry Birds in the classroom last winter, and began blogging about teaching with it. Given that the birds are catapulted into the sky, it was the perfect tool for teaching students the laws of projectile motion. In about 30 minutes, the teens were able to thoroughly understand, as Burk wrote on his blog, "the two big ideas of projectile motion: the horizontal component of motion is constant velocity, while the vertical component is constant acceleration."

But don't think that students are hunched over their mobile phones in Burk's class. It turns out that one of the main reasons Angry Birds has become a popular education tool with physics teachers nationwide is that Google Chrome made it available on the web. That makes it easier for teachers and students to use it in the classroom and scientifically analyze the launching birds. As for Burk's students, he says they had so much fun learning physics with Angry Birds that they're eager for him to bring more gaming technology into the classroom. Up next? Lessons with Tiny Wings.

photo via Quantum Progress

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