Working Activity Sessions (90-minutes)

Hands-on investigations of physics teaching topics

Friday Morning, March 13, 10:00 – 11:30 am
Redesigning Lab Activities to be Student Centered Experiences
Scott Bonham, Western Kentucky University, scott.bonham@wku.edu
– How are you dealing with requirements imposed by NGSS and or changes to the AP Physics B test, with emphasis on having students understand how to design experiments? WKU has revised its introductory physics labs to no longer providing detailed instructions to students; instead requiring students to make experimental design choices.


Friday Afternoon, March 13, 1:30 – 3:00 pm

Closing the Gap between Homework and Test Scores
Jeremy Morton, Oklahoma State University, jeremy@theexpertta.com
– We identify that major factors causing the gap between students’ homework grades and test scores are: access to immediate and meaningful feedback, practice on symbolic questions, and a minimized ability to find problem solutions online. Knowing this, ExpertTA has worked to develop the largest available library of “symbolic” questions and use of analytics to data-mine every incorrect answer every submitted, in order to continually improve feedback for these questions.

It’s the 21st Century — What Physics are Your Students Learning?
Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood, North Carolina State University,
– The fourth edition of Matter and Interactions is a contemporary textbook and curriculum for the calculus-based introductory physics course; an overview will be given in the evening plenary. In this workshop participants will work in groups on concepts and problems from M&I chosen to provide a detailed look at the advantages of taking a contemporary perspective on intro physics. Participants will need a scientific calculator (which can be an app on a phone or laptop).


Friday Afternoon, March 13, 3:30 – 5:00 pm
VPython Programming for Introductory Physics
Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood, North Carolina State University,
– VPython combines the widely used Python programming language with a 3D graphics library and vector capabilities and generates navigable real-time 3D animations as a side effect of physics computations. This allows beginning students with no prior programming experience to model and visualize physical systems such as the three-body problem, 3D spring-mass oscillations, the electric field of arbitrary charge distributions, etc., all of which are beyond the reach of purely analytical methods but easily dealt with using iterative techniques. In VPython the single statement “box()” is sufficient to produce a 3D cube, appropriately lighted, with mouse or touch controls to zoom or rotate the camera. Workshop participants will write VPython programs themselves and will need a Wi-Fi capable laptop with an up-to-date Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browser.


Saturday Morning, March 13, 8:00 – 9:30 am

Using Planetary Orbits to Teach Gravity
Chris Palma, Penn State University, cxp137@psu.edu
– After a quick overview of some interesting findings from the study of student ideas about planetary orbits, we will demonstrate an interactive activity that makes use of the PhET simulations of planetary orbits. In particular, we will focus on how to engage students in argumentation using the “Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning” framework of McNeill & Krajcik (2012).

Closing the Gap between Homework and Test Scores
Jeremy Morton, Oklahoma State University, jeremy@theexpertta.com
– We identify that major factors causing the gap between students’ homework grades and test scores are: access to immediate and meaningful feedback, practice on symbolic questions, and a minimized ability to find problem solutions online. Knowing this, ExpertTA has worked to develop the largest available library of “symbolic” questions and use of analytics to data-mine every incorrect answer every submitted, in order to continually improve feedback for these questions.


Saturday Morning, March 13, 9:30 – 11:00 am

Pre-labs, Post-labs, Flipped Lab, JIT and Hybrid Labs – How Virtual Physics Labs Expand Student Learning Opportunities
Chuck Duncan, Kentucky Educational Television, cduncan@ket.org
– In this session we’ll explore how virtual labs can expand your lab offerings and integrate the lab experience more into the learning process. KET Virtual Physics Labs can get your students to consider a topic just prior to class time, during class, after class. For instance, a short pre-class lab assignment with realistic virtual apparatus puts the student in a much better position to gain from the class discussion. The teacher can follow up with the same tools in class. And a short post-class lab challenge can continue the learning process. Bring your laptop.


Saturday Afternoon, March 13, 1:30 – 3:00 pm

Investigative Science Learning Environments: Resources and Help in Implementation
Eugenia Etkina (in collaboration with A. Van Heuvelen, M. Gentile and D. Brookes), Rutgers University
– In my plenary workshop the participants learn how the Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE) philosophy might help their students meet the needs of the 21st century workplace and be successful on many assessments. In this workshop the participants will learn about the resources available for the implementation of ISLE. Workshop participants will receive copies of college Physics textbook by Etkina, Gentile and Van Heuvelen, the Active Learning Guide and the Instructor guide as well as access to websites with vide and lab materials. The resources provided in the workshop can be used in any introductory course. One does need to adopt ISLE to take advantage of the resources.

Reverse Game Play as an Introduction to Scientific Hypothesis Testing
David Maloney, Indiana Univ / Purdue Univ at Fort Wayne, maloney@ipfw.edu
– An introduction to the use of materials derived from abstract strategy games as a vehicle to introduce students to the processes of formulating and testing hypotheses. Participants will engage in the activity, and discuss its strengths and weaknesses. Participants will receive materials for twelve different games that provide numerous variations allowing for altering the level of challenge of the activity widely.


Saturday Afternoon, March 13, 3:00 – 4:30 pm

AP Physics B and C – How are teachers handling the changes?
Kenny Lee, Warren Central High School, kenny.lee1@warren.kyschools.us
– Physics 2 B or not 2 B. And, then there is C. How are teachers of the old AP Physics B course dealing with the split to Physics 1 and 2 and their perception of their choose. I will report on how previous AP Physics B instructors have handled the split and how that choice fits with their school schedule. And, we will discuss options on implementation.

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