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Wondering • Mastering • Enjoying

Simplicatus Research and Development




Our vision is to make complicated issues simple. We aim to bridge the gap between scientific expertise and scientific literacy with an active or ”mindson” learning philosophy. Masters of science communication like Carl Sagan provide inspiration.

We advocate learner-centered activities rather than teacher-centered activities. Constructing their knowledge, students understand and deduct abstract principles from practical experience as the need for theoretical frameworks appears naturally.

SRD was founded in 2010. Our founders have more than a decade’s experience from both national and international development projects for in-service training of teachers with new learning materials.

Exploring problems, experiments and data with proper guidance from the teacher is key to this process. All learners should encounter challenges suited to train and extend their abilities.

WHAT WE DO SRD improves science and mathematics education with teacher training seminars and guides for using experimental equipment and interactive exhibits. We deliver a large range of learning materials for science and mathematics in schools and science centres. Teacher guides and seminars accompany the materials. Pedagogical research is our guide when developing quality products and services.



aasrun engstrøm CEO Aasrun Engstrøm oversees administration, logistics, suppliers and customers. Daily operations are complemented by translation / proofreading of teacher guides and other documents.

morten sandberg CTO Morten Sandberg developed and manages the IT systems. We use web 2.0 tools for marketing, project management as well as daily operations.

web pages (NO)

2 (NO) (NO)

Norwegian projects from 2000 to 2009 allowed us to develop mathematics kits, technology kits and an elearning concept continued in an EU project. Leonardo da Vinci EU projects from 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2008 for training science teachers included an average of 30 partners per project. Recently we developed a unique Möbius-shaped track to show superconducting magnetic levitation.


Combining pedagogical expertise with scientific knowledge and information technology to bring the subject materials to life. It might sound easy, but making the complicated seem easy is in fact a difficult task. However, we like challenges!

We link general science communication with inservice teacher training, ref. the Lisbon treaty and other guiding documents on the European level. Through interactive experiments we let learners discover phenomena challenging their curiosity.

We work with creative teams and partners to find new approaches or improve previous efforts to promoting the public understanding of science. Wide experience from writing, editing, publishing, designing, modelling, welding, assembling, quality assuring and managing allows a flexible approach.

Superconductivity and electromagnetism are the key topics of teacher guides, teacher seminars and Minds-on Experimental Equipment Kits providing rich opportunities for conceptual learning as well as calculations and data logging. Electronic materials include both qualitative animations and quantitative models and simulations.

vegard farstad CSO Vegard Stornes Farstad manages development of products and services through international and local projects. His educational background is an M.Sc. and a postgraduate teaching certificate in physics and mathematics from NTNU in Trondheim.


TECHNOLOGY The ”NITO Technology Bag” was developed in 2006 with the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists. In 2010 we also developed a new plastic bending machine for this equipment kit. We would be happy to further develop this concept for technology education in other countries.

MATHEMATICS Over a period of 7 years we developed a series of 8 different math kits covering the curriculum of the first 11 years of primary and secondary school. Specially authored teacher guides describe learning activities using the kit materials. We also developed online and board games, and other products.

partners During the projects we worked with institutions like the National Centre for Mathematics Education, the National Association for Mathematics Teachers, the Science Centre in Tromsø, the Swedish National Centre for Mathematics Education and others.

We can now offer more than 100 different Science Centre exhibits from, covering topics from mathematics , physics, chemistry and biology. As the representative in the Nordic and Baltic countries as well as in Poland and Ukraine, we hope to provide positive science experiences for thousands of visitors to science centres in these countries.

partners Leaders in physics education from 15 EU countries have participated in our series of European projects developing teacher seminars, guides and learning materials in electromagnetism. Universities in Amsterdam, Antwerpen, Brno, Daugavpils, Graz, Lille, Lisboa, Ljubljana, London, Loughborough, Ludwigsburg, München, Murcia, Nottingham, Ostrava, Palermo, Paris, Ruse, Udine, Torun, Trondheim and Wroclaw, as well as Polish, Norwegian, Romanian and UK companies and more than 20 secondary schools have taken part. Three main national associations for teachers and engineers, science centres in Trondheim, Tromsø and the National Centre for Science Education in Oslo were Norwegian partners, as well as the Polish National Association for Science Teachers.

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Physics Interactive Exhibits


Möbius Maglev Track with a Superconducting Train Our so-called ”Möbius maglev track” employs the flux pinning phenomenon to keep the train ”on track”. The Möbius band geometry makes the train turn around its own axis while circling the track. This proves that levitation with flux pinning is highly stable and different from levitation by simple magnetic repulsion that will only work on horizontal tracks. We are working on smaller and larger designs, and we can customize this unique maglev track concept to your specifications. Video at More infomation at

A world-first flux pinning demonstrator in three dimensions with a levitating superconducting train rotating about its own axis as it runs along the track

The world-first Möbius-shaped magnetic track for a superconducting levitating train was developed in the MOSEM² project, designed and produced by a group of students at Vestfold University College over the academic year 2008-2009. The idea arrived as an extension of the MOSEM Superconductivity Experimental Kit containing a straight track as well as point-shaped tracks for demonstration of two types of levitation; utilizing the Meissner effect or utilizing flux pinning.

Track diameter

98 cm

Track width

4 cm

Magnet size

30 x 10 x 5 mm3

# magnets 820 Total weight

~15 kg


64 x 32 x 16 mm3

Two superconducting trains levitate 3mm and 12mm above the track. If the superconductors inside the trains are kept at a temperature colder than about 190 degrees below zero, the trains will keep levitating forever.

Simplicatus Research & Development | science centre | physics experiments




Interactive Exhibits for Science Centres

Simplicatus Research and Development represents in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. We currently offer more than 100 different Science Centre exhibits covering topics from mathematics, physics, chemistry, earth science, biology, computers and arts. Our wish is that these will give positive science experiences for thousands of science centre visitors.


You will find updated information, drawings, photos and videos of available exhibits at We can customize the exhibits according to your request, with different colour schemes or even specially designed furniture. Some examples from our catalogue of exhibits are shown on the right. Please contact us for a quote on selected items or if you have any questions.

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Science Centre


Simplicatus Research & Development | science centre | physics experiments


Physics Teacher Guides

The first two projects focused on e-learning using conceptual animations to understand electromagnetism and superconductivity, hence the name SUPERCOnductivity Multimedia Educational Tool – SUPERCOMET. The Online Learning Modules that we developed as a resource for students are freely available at You can find an overview of the entire series of SUPERCOMET and MOSEM projects at

Teacher Guide Guida per l’insegnante Lærerveiledning Priroc ˇ nik za uc ˇ itelje

SUPERCOMET Superconductivity Multimedia Educational Tool, phase 2


Teaching with SUPERCOMET2 Use of ICT in science teaching

Teacher Guide

Each of the EU projects developed a teacher guide as part of the deliverables. The guide explains the learning philosophy and pedagogical concepts we promote. Also included are an explanation of superconductivity and descriptions of teacher seminars for how to use the Online Learning Modules to help conceptual understanding of electromagnetism and superconductivity.


ICT in science teaching Ways of using ICT in the classroom

Physics of Superconductivity Background information

The Modules

Prerequisites, Objectives, Knowledge Testing

Examples of activities Suggested lessons


Low-tech, High-tech, Teacher Seminar


Reviews, Teachers’ comments, Pupils’ comments

Further Resources Books, Weblinks


SUPERCOMET Superconductivity Multimedia Educational Tool

Currently these 4 Teacher Guides are available in English. The MOSEM Teacher Guide has been particallly translated and adapted to Norwegian (only the part about electromagnetism, not the part about superconductivity). All of our materials are available at The current editions of the Teacher Guides are as follows: MOSEM² (2011 English) ISBN 978-82-8130-058-3 MOSEM (2010 English, 2nd edition) ISBN 978-82-8130-059-0 MOSEM (2010 Norwegian) ISBN 978-82-8130-057-6 SUPERCOMET 2 (2007 English) ISBN 978-82-8130-055-2 SUPERCOMET (2005 English/Italian/Norw./Slovenian) ISBN 978-82-8130-045-3


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Physics Teacher Guides


Going from conceptual e-learning we moved on to produce the actual conceptual experiments depicted by the animations. We coined the term ”Minds-On” to point out the importance of cognitive activity when working physically with ”Hands-On” equipment or experiments. This led to the project name MindsOn experimental equipment kits in Superconductivity and ElectroMagnetism – MOSEM. In the last project we went from from qualitative to quantitative. We introduced data logging to complement the conceptual experiments, and the animations were enriched by mathematical modelling and simulations. To emphasize this new dimension of our work, we named the last project MOdelling and data acquisition for continuing vocational training of upper secondary school physics teachers in pupil-active learning of Superconductivity and ElectroMagnetism based on Minds-On Simple ExperiMents – MOSEM² MOSEM² simulations are at

Minds-on experiments in Superconductivity and ElectroMagnetism

A Leonardo project for continuing vocational training of upper secondary school physics teachers

MOSEM experiment videos are at All our results and materials can be found at

(2011-EN) (2011-EN, 2nd ed.) (2010-NO) (2007-EN) (2004-EN/IT/NO/SI)

ISBN 978-82-8130-058-3 ISBN 978-82-8130-059-0 ISBN 978-82-8130-057-6 ISBN 978-82-8130-055-2 ISBN 978-82-8130-045-3

Simplicatus Research & Development | science centre | physics experiments


Physics Experimental Equipment


Superconductivity Kit Upper Secondary School

The prototype Superconductivity Experiment Kit was developed in the MOSEM Project and contains selected equipment and materials for performing a number of experiments with superconductivity and second-order phase changes. More detailed descriptions of equipment and experiments can be found in the MOSEM Teacher Guide, and the MOSEM Teacher Seminar goes into detail about using these experiments in Minds-On teaching and learning of superconductivity at the upper secondary school level.

The prototype kit weighs about 20 kg and contains a total of 104 parts. The list of contents in the MOSEM Teacher Guide identifies which experiment(s) each part is used for. The main parts are:


Hard-case trolley with wheels, telescope handle, 5 locks and keys

Two foam trays with instruments, magnets and equipment

Box with smaller items, including superconductors

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Physics Experimental Equipment


Electromagnetism Kit Upper/Lower Secondary School The MOSEM Project also developed an Electromagnetism Experiment Kit. The prototype contains a large collection of equipment and materials that can be used to carry out different experiments with electricity, magnetism and electromagnetic induction. Both the materials and experiments are described in further details in the MOSEM Teacher Guide. The MOSEM Teacher Seminar explains how these experiments can be used to promote Minds-On teaching and learning of magnetism, electrical conduction and electromagnetic induction at the upper secondary school level.

The prototype kit weighs about 23 kg and contains a total of 374 parts. The list of contents in the MOSEM Teacher Guide identifies which experiment(s) each part is used for. The main parts are: •

Box with small non-magnetic items

Small box with strong magnets, etc

Small box with wires, etc

Two upper trays with inclined plane, experiment table etc.

A main compartment with equipment, tools, tubes, magnets and 3 boxes

Trolley with wheels, telescope handle, lock and keys

Simplicatus Research & Development | science centre | physics experiments


Technology Experimental Equipment


Technology Kit Lower Secondary School

In connection with the latest curriculum reform in Norway, Technology and Design became a crossdisciplinary topic within the general science course in primary and lower secondary school. NITO, the Norwegian Society of Engineers and Technologists, wanted to strengthen this topic, and contacted us for developing a Technology kit with equipment for practical experiments with design and production. The technology kit contains all necessary parts and tools for the planned activities, and a teacher guide presenting each activity with graphics, equipment list and suggested modifications or extensions. Aiming to combine theory and practice, activities included in the kit are related to learning goals in the curriculum while also allowing individual creativity within each project.

Tool sets for each student group are included in the kit.

Two eager students building a catapult following instructions in the included �Technology and Design� book.


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Mathematics Teacher Guides


The teacher guides (one for each math kit) offer examples of learning and problem solving activities as well as games using materials contained in the math kit. The activities are thoroughly worked out and linked to the Norwegian national curriculum. Classroom testing with students ensure quality and make it easy for teachers to implement activities. The teacher guides describe a total of 67 different learning activities for primary school, 52 examples for the intermediate stage, 71 examples for the secondary school and 43 examples for the upper secondary school using the material in the corresponding math kits. There are still many more variations and extensions mentioned in connection with the different learning activities.

Each learning activity gives a short description of its purpose, recommended student age/school year, how it fits with other curriculum topics, required amount of time, working methods and necessary equipment. All guides contain an article about the students’ inner motivation when learning, useful tips when using minds-on learning materials and other important advice and tips. There is also an alphabetical list of the minds-on materials with cross-references to the learning activities. In the back of each teacher guide you will find worksheets for copying and distributing among the students where necessary for the learning activities.

The learning activity descriptions are meant to function as a ”user guide”, helping teachers get started without spending too much time figuring out how to use the materials. Therefore we have included such information as which topics and goals from the L06 curriculum are covered by each activity, making it easier to fit it into the teaching plan for each group. We describe preparations, practical implementation, minds-on questions for asking along the way, as well as specific indicators to be observed by the teacher. By addressing students’ discoveries as they experiment mathematically with the materials, teachers may function more as mentors in a conceptual learning process than tutors possessing the correct answers that students need to memorize. Simplicatus Research & Development | science centre | physics experiments


Mathematics Experimental Equipment


upper secondary school The latest Norwegian curriculum change in 2006 set up new subject divisions for upper secondary school. Learning goals for each subject are combined with five basic skills across all subjects: Being able to express oneself orally and in writing, reading, arithmetic and being able to use digital tools. Our math kit was developed by some of the same experts at the National Centre for Mathematics Education who were behind the guidance document to the curriculum. These individuals also have been involved in the process of the curriculum and development of national tests in mathematics. The various experimental activities are designed towards learning goals as set out in the Norwegian curriculum, but since they are clearly described it would be relatively straight forward to map them over to any other curriculum.

The teacher guide that comes with the kit contains 43 learning activities, quality assured by the National Centre for Mathematics Education. These activities span different parts of the learning goals from the curriculum. Several of the learning activities provide the basis for modelling with digital tools. The teacher guides contain numerous and detailed descriptions of teaching, problem-solving, puzzles and games You could work without a textbook in selected topics, and let students do creative activities leading to mathematical insights. Teacher guides bring up relevant questions teachers can ask, things they should observe, tips for continuation and differentiation.

We look forward to work with you to develop a specific kit for your needs.



Math Kit 1 Upper Secondary School Teacher guides, 2 pcs Algebra Models Clinometer Altitude Finder Color Squares, transparent Counters, transparent 3/4� Dice, different number of sides Geoboards, 11x11 pin w/elastic bands Geometry set Origami paper Pattern Blocks, plastic, ½ cm Playing cards Overhead versions of the materials

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Mathematics Experimental Equipment


lower secondary school Lower secondary school comes at a tough time in life for many, students must find their role both in and out of school. Motivation for learning mathematics can be low when “school mathematics” seems of little practical use. Discovering the beauty of mathematics around them, and that math is something they need in their daily lives, can improve the situation. By working practically with mathematics and trying out for themselves, students can gain a deeper understanding. Exploratory learning activities allow students to experience mathematics as a meaningful and fun subject. Positive experiences through practical lessons and student activity lead to increased motivation.

Math Kit 1 Lower Secondary School Teacher guides, 2 pcs Color Squares, transparent Counting sticks, wooden Geoboard 11x11 pin w/rubber bands Geometric templates Measuring jars/pitchers Full of mathematical Rulers revelations! Spinners, blank Tangrams - Andenes Ungdomsskole Thermometers Overhead versions of the materials

Math Kit 2 Lower Secondary School Teacher guides, 2 pcs Counters, transparent 3/4” Cuisenaire rods Dice, different number of sides Fraction dice Fraction tiles, 6” embossed Pentominoes Playing cards, whole numbers and fractions Overhead versions of the material

Simplicatus Research & Development | science centre | physics experiments


Mathematics Experimental Equipment


upper primary school In upper primary school, the introduction of symbols and a higher level of abstraction causes many to lose interest for mathematics. It is difficult to remember algorithms without understanding their purpose. Practical learning activities with manipulatives often make it easier for students to give the concepts meaningful content. By exploring and discovering patterns, we want to give students positive experiences with mathematics. This in turn leads to increased curiosity and an eagerness to find out more. This can also be characterized as intrinsic motivation, and mathematics will be experienced as fun and worth the effort.

Math Kit 1 Upper Primary School

Our mathematics experimental kits contain selected manipulatives for up to 30 students and in-depth teacher guides. The guides are designed to be practical for teachers with less experience in exploratory and active learning approaches, and can be used for inspiration by more experienced teachers who feel secure about their role as guide and mentor among the challenges students encounter when working practically.


Teacher guides, 2 pcs Counters, transparent 3/4” Counting sticks, wooden Hundreds boards Metric Trundle Wheel Number tiles Rainbow fraction circles Rope for distance measurement Unit cubes Overhead versions of the materials

Math Kit 2 Upper Primary School Teacher guides, 2 pcs Counters, transparent 3/4” Dice Dice, different number of sides Fraction tiles, 6” embossed Geoboards, 5x5 pin w/elastic bands Hundreds boards Norwegian banknotes and coins Tangrams Overhead versions of the materials


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Mathematics Experimental Equipment


lower primary school At the beginning of primary school students wonder and are excited about patterns and structures in mathematics. This is the way they experience and discover the diversity mathematics has to offer. By experimenting and playing with manipulatives and numbers, students gain an inner motivation for the subject. In all mathematics topics it is important to allow students to know and understand the concepts and relationships before they begin to automate. An algorithm makes no sense if the students do not understand its purpose and why it is the way it is.

Math Kit 1 Lower Primary School Teacher guides, 2 pcs Base 10 materials Color squares, transparent Counters transparent 3/4” Dice Giant number cards Overhead versions of the materials

Math Kit 2 Lower Primary School Teacher guides, 2 pcs Attribute blocks Attribute dice Grouping circles, 20” diam. Multilink cubes Pupil’s clock faces and Hourglasses Unit cubes Overhead versions of the materials

Math Kit 3 Lower Primary School Teacher guides, 2 pcs Cuisenaire rods Rod track, 50 cm Overhead Cuisenaire rods

Simplicatus Research & Development | science centre | physics experiments


Everything should be done as simple as possible, but not simpler. -Albert Einstein

tal experimen Collecting nd then rvations a se b o d n a data ides inthese prov organising e what, escribing th d n o ti a form ature. when in n where and

Analyzing informatio n to identify pa tterns and lo o k ing at these in context giv e s us knowledge about how n ature interacts, b oth with us and within itself .

Evaluating and refle cting on knowledge, alone or in peer discussions, leads to un derstanding why nature behave s like it does.

We hope that science and education may lead us to make wise decisions.

Understanding allows tak ing a wider perspective. Ethica l considerations and exploring different scenarios for our interactio n with nature may lead to wisdo m.

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SRD Brochure  

Simplicatus Research and Development offers experimental equipment kits in science education and physics exhibits for science centres and sc...

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