Current Projects

Computational Physics Massively Open Online Course

Partnering with Coursera, GTPER is currently prototyping an introductory physics course utilizing smartphones and computational modeling. Utilizing lessons gained from work in implementing computation in the Arizona State modeling curriculum, course work is designed with a common theme, students participate in a paradigm experiment which is then modeled with VPython. The model and experimental data is then compared and the students submit a video report which is then graded. Students are introduced to each new concept with a short animated video.

Computational Physics in the High School Modeling Curriculum

The Arizona State modeling curriculum has revolutionized the way in which high school physics is taught. With its emphasis on conceptual understanding, model making, and multiple representations, the modeling curriculum is a perfect fit for computational thinking. Computational thinking is a relatively new but greatly discussed educational idea; so much so, that Google has begun to develop and deploy computational thinking assignments for middle and high school students. In this project, we are developing tools based on VPython (i.e., Python paired with a visual model) that permit modeling and visualization of physics problems. One of the challenges for the high school environment is designing tools that limit the programming load for students, but still allow them to create highly visual simulations which complement other work in their class. Our approach is to build tools that extend the capabilities of the visual module in VPython to include additional features (i.e., motion diagrams, arrow objects, graphs, etc.) that simpler to produce than is currently possible. In addition, we are offering teacher training workshops through the Race to the Top initiative. We also have produced a variety of materials for teachers to integrate computation and modeling into their classrooms. Read more...

Characterizing Students' Motivations for and Anxieties about learning Computation

Students' motivation to learn computation and anxiety about solving computational exercises varies greatly. The attitudes, interests, and values that students exhibit when learning a subject can play a role in their motivation to and anxiety about learning the subject. We are developing a new tool, the Computation Modeling in Physics Attitudinal Student Survey (COMPASS), aimed at helping to characterize students' attitudes about, interests in, and values concerning computation. Read More...

Extending the Role of Computation in Introductory Mechanics

Elementary numerical problem solving is an essential part of the M&I course. New homework assignments have been developed to include these numerical routines. These assignments aim to discourage student shortcuts and to develop physical intuition. At the end of the semester, students' computational modeling skills are evaluated. Read More...


Old Projects

Measuring Curricular differences in Introductory Mechanics

Group members have recently completed a comparative analysis of FCI performance by over 5000 students in introductory mechanics. M&I students underperform on this assessement relative to students in the traditional students most likely due to difference in time-on-task. Think-aloud protocols performed with students in both the M&I and traditional curricula further illuminated this underperformance. Read more...

Measuring Curricular differences in Introductory Electromagnetism

Recent work has shown M&I students outpeform traditional students on a stadardized assessment for electromagnetism (BEMA). This colcusion is supported by the shear number of students tested, over 3000. M&I students outperform traditional students across all topics of E&M tested on the BEMA. Read more...

Implementing the Matter and Interactions Curriculum at a Large Engineering University
projects.txt · Last modified: 2013/03/22 13:23 by johnmark
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