Science & Math with Newton’s Trains

An original science and math enrichment curriculum series from ExplorTech

“I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

Sir Isaac Newton

“Science & Math with Newton’s Trains” is a free hands-on Raspberry Pi science and coding activity using real HO model trains and track, designed for upper elementary, intermediate, and middle school. Learn how gravity and friction acts on objects to make them stop, start, accelerate, decelerate, and more! Introductory activities stand alone so you can accomplish any number of lessons in the order desired. Outstanding for supplemental activities and GT class activities.

Science & Math with Newton’s Trains premiers at Weatherford College’s 4th-grade STEMania on October 24, and is available to schools starting October 28, 2019.

A Note from the Director

When I was a kid, I had toys. Back when a STEM was only something with leaves, I had lot’s of science and engineering toys, many from the great AC Gilbert Company. I had the “holy trinity” of science toys – Gilbert’s Telescope, Microscope, and Chemistry sets. I built with Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs, and yes, the greatest of all, the mighty Erector Set! Later, I had electronics kits from the now almost-defunct Radio Shack, including a real working radio broadcast studio. Now I live and teach from a maker space so crammed with electronics and science stuff, I have to dig through it like some kind of science-toy archaeologist, digging through strata of electronic parts, hardware, and equipment left by years of projects finished and unfinished.

And I had model trains, too. A big set of O-Scale Marx trains, with its three-rail track and thin-steel-bodied diesel locomotive, with a real working headlight. I can still feel my 8-year-old head resting on the floor next to the tracks so I could get the ground-level view of the engine pulling its cars around the bend. Inspired by my childhood, past and present, I recently demonstrated Newton’s TrainsTM, at the Dallas Zoo Exxon-Mobile Science Day on September 21. This science activity is designed for our students who are growing up in the greatest era of science and engineering toys in history, and who will soon live in a world once just the province of our imaginations.

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