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Traffic Simulator

Traffic Simulator

Looking for a fun distraction that also includes a little civic and social engineering, Traffic Simulator gives you and your students a chance to see how slight changes in road systems, driving patterns, and other factors can lead to major back-ups on our roadways.

The initial pattern on the website is a steady circle of traffic (ring road), and you can manipulate different factors such as the total number of cars on the road, the number of those that are trucks, and the acceleration of those vehicles to show how each affects the traffic in a closed system.  Once you’ve played with that and messed up rush hour, you can try the other traffic patterns, such as adding an on-ramp (above), off-ramp, construction, hill, or detour to see how each can also change the traffic.  Different elements can again be manipulated to test the roads and demonstrate how different factors can lead to traffic nightmares.

Explanations of some of the physics and psychology of traffic are provided through the links on the sidebar, as well as different ways to use the simulation.  Traffic Simulator is a wonderful tool for seeing how traffic patterns can shift and change and what affects them, as well as providing students with some problem solving as they work through how to alleviate the traffic and find the ideal conditions for each roadway.

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Two-Minute Mysteries

Two-Minute Mysteries

Looking for a fun and unique way to have students work on their critical thinking and logic skills, with a little deductive reasoning built in?  These two-minute mysteries from Mystery Digest might do the trick.

The stories are designed to be read and solved in less than two minutes, and these short mysteries will test students reading comprehension (or listening, if you read them aloud) and then encourage them to think critically about the facts given to quickly solve the case.  None are designed to be tricky, and all the cases can be solved based only on the facts given.

There are several ways you might use these in class.  They could be part of a different warm-up exercise to change the routine a little in a math class to test logic.  Use them as part of a unit on mystery and detective stories in your reading or English class.  They could be templates in a creative writing class on writing short, concise stories packed with information.  Just make them a fun group activity, seeing how each student group arrives at their conclusions, and if they are different.

The mysteries are divided into both easy to solve and medium difficulty stories, but they should really only be used in middle school or above (grades 6-12).  If your students enjoy these, you might also want to try both the logic puzzles available and the “Case Files of Detective Nose” for some more short cases.