Contributed Papers Saturday Morning

Contributed Oral Presentations: 8AM to 9:30 AM

Saturday morning

Room A

8:00            Mark Greenman: Estes Rocket Launch & Flight – Hands-on Student Project

8:30             William Jumper: Reconstructing 3D Trajectories from Video Recordings

9:00            Gary Garber: Teaching using model airplane kits

9:15            Mark Greenman: AP Physics 1 edx MOOC BU

Room B

8:00            Gary Felder: Active Learning Exercises for Math Methods for Physics and Engineering Students

8:30            Charles H. Holbrow and Charles J. Holbrow: CAN YOU BEAT THIS?  — SOME KINEMATICS IN A NOVEL CONTEXT

8:45             Ryan Dorland: Fostering Creativity in the Laboratory: Arduino-based Labs and Projects for Introductory College Physics.

9:00            John B. Johnston: Great demos can be yours!

9:15             R. Bruce Roberts, Rohit Kumar Physics instantiation of a Problem-Solving based Online Learning Platform

9:15             David Pritchard: Learning Experiments in a Physics Massive Open Online Course

ORAL Presentation Abstracts

Mark D. Greenman

Estes Rocket Launch & Flight – Hands-on Student Project

Boston University, Boston, MA

Go home with a hands-on project building and testing Estes’ rockets and rocket engines that will facilitate and extend the learning of dynamics and kinematics principals. Students use a force probe to obtain real-time impulse graphs for a variety of Estes’ engines. They use their knowledge of kinematics and dynamics to make predictions concerning acceleration, velocity and altitude performance for rockets they build and launch. Students compare their theoretical predictions with real flight data and work to resolve differences.

William Jumper

Reconstructing 3D Trajectories from Video Recordings

Lowell High School, Lowell, MA
Multi camera video imaging and analytic methodologies, employing TRACKER, EXCEL, and GRAPHING CALCULATOR 3D  will be described; all towards the reconstruction of 3D trajectories of various projectiles and self-propelled objects being studied in the classroom or laboratory.   Trajectory analysis examples from water bottle rocketry, glider design and analysis, and soap bubbles in electrostatic fields will be presented.

Gary Garber

Teaching physics using model airplane kits, flight navigation maps, and the avionics panel           

Boston University Academy, Boston, MA

Each summer I teach a Flight School Camp to middle school students. In the airplane half of the camp we build airplanes using White Wings. We also build balsa planes from Guillow. We also study the instrument control panel, aviation instruments, and flight navigation.   I will review some of the products we use in the camp and the interesting physics.

Mark D. Greenman

Boston University AP Physics 1 edx MOOC and Student Laboratories

Boston University, Boston, MA

Boston University went live in January offering a Massive Open Online Course supporting teaching and learning aligned to the new AP Physics 1 course. Andrew Duffy is the lead author for this BU initiative. This talk will focus on how we are embedding laboratory activities into the BU AP Physics 1 MOOC. We are also looking for potential partners from high needs school districts to pilot a hybrid digital and face-to-face AP Physics 1 model for the fall of 2015.
Gary Felder

Active Learning Exercises for Math Methods for Physics and Engineering Students

Smith College, Clark Science Center, Northampton, MA
Many physics curricula include a “math methods” course, a brief introduction to a variety of math topics that students will use in later courses. Under the auspices of an NSF grant, we have developed a set of “motivational exercises” connecting each mathematical topic to the physical topics where it is applied. For example, Taylor series are introduced with an exercise (for homework or in class) in which students write down the equation of motion for an atom in a crystal and recognize that they can’t solve it. Then they are handed a linear approximation for the acceleration, plug in some numbers to verify that this new formula approximates the true acceleration well, and easily solve the resulting equation. At the end of the exercise they are told that in this chapter they will learn how to derive the approximation they just used.
Charles H. Holbrow and Charles J. Holbrow

Colgate University and MIT, Cambridge, MA

Suppose each hand is drumming at four beats per measure.  Starting on the downbeat, can you accelerate the right hand’s beating at a constant rate so that it reaches seven beats per measure on a downbeat of the left hand? We show both mathematically and by an audio sequence that the answer is “yes.”  Surprisingly, the answer depends on when you begin the constant acceleration.  You can not start constant acceleration on the last beat of a measure and end on a downbeat of the left hand. For this case, you need to use an acceleration that varies with time. These problems exercise a student’s understanding of the mathematics of kinematics in a novel context. Generalizing this problem and its solution would be a good student project.
Ryan Dorland

Fostering Creativity in the Laboratory: Arduino-based Labs and Projects for Introductory College Physics.
St. Joseph’s College of Maine, Standish ME

Most college physics sequence courses include a laboratory component in electromagnetism.  Open-source electronics prototyping platforms (Arduino™ Uno, ATmega328 controller) are used to develop laboratory experiments and to reinforce topics covered in class.  After several weeks of introductory instruction and familiarity with components, students are required to develop a DIY project requiring sensor input and control of circuits.  While allowed to modify existing projects from the internet, they must ‘make it their own’ and develop a series of tests using their projects.  The goals of this laboratory design are to increase student engagement by allowing for creativity, introduce students to physics concepts behind current technologies (LEDs, Bluetooth, various sensors), and develop skills in logic design, signal processing, and programming.  The cost of the platforms and associated equipment is low, allowing for adoption in high-schools and colleges without expansive budget or research capacity.  Examples of lab demonstrations, experiments and original student projects from the past two years are presented.


John B. Johnston  

Great demos can be yours!
The Faraday Center, Livingston Manor, NY

A sample of demos will be presented that you can develop  from more than 20 whose write-ups will be available in a nearby room open all day for you to browse. Several will be performed which you can learn from; they are considered classics that never fail!

  1. Bruce Roberts, Rohit Kumar

Physics instantiation of a Problem-Solving based Online Learning Platform, Raytheon BBN Technologies, Cambridge, MA

Over the last two years, BBN has developed a domain-independent platform for building and delivering problem-solving based learning activities over the web. The choice of problem solving as the learning activity is motivated by its applicability to a wide range of STEM domains. We will demonstrate the high school Physics instance of this learning platform that contains over 100 problems covering topics in Electricity and Magnetism. BBN is currently making this platform available to schools in New England for use in their Physics classrooms. We will describe how teachers can obtain access to this platform and discuss the different ways they can use it in their classroom.

Dave Pritchard

Learning Experiments in a Physics Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
MIT, Cambridge, MA

We report results from three treatment/control learning experiments conducted in 8.MReVx: Mechanics Review, a massive open online course (MOOC) run by the RELATE group at MIT on the edX platform. First, we compared the efficacy of deliberate practice activities intended to train individual skills  with traditional practice of solving whole problems. Two formats of deliberate practice–drag and drop and multiple choice—were used. Evaluating the learning using traditional whole problems we find that traditional practice outperforms deliberate practice in the multiple choice format. Second, we measured the amount of learning that occurs during a pretest administered in a MOOC environment that transfers to the same question placed on the posttest. We place an upper limit on the amount of such transfer that suggests that this type of learning effect is very weak compared with the learning throughout the course. Third, we show that presenting a diagram together with a problem statement affects students problem-solving behavior, and in some cases affects the probability of correctly answering the problem.