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Chris Bruce Leadership Summit Introduction

Category : Uncategorized · (2) Comments · by February 21, 2015

Chris Bruce                                                                                                                Leadership Summit Intro
High School Science Teacher in Illinois – 8 years
Born and raised in Ketchikan, Kayhi graduate, MIT engineeering graduate, US Navy submarine officer, Navy satellite engineer

I teach at James B. Conant High School: 2400 students/200 staff, Chicago suburb, middle class population, 1:1 iPads for all 13,000 students in the district – Any questions about how to do this well, I would be happy to talk to you!

ipadsinphysicscropped

In late 2011, our technology coordinator asked us if we had any preference for devices for our upcoming 1:1 mobile device program we said we wanted Microsoft Windows devices. He said “tough – you are getting iPads, but it is okay because there is something called HTML5 that someone will soon make all of the tools you need!” Little did we know, that “someone” he meant was us.

I became an Apple iOS developer + Google Play developer + web developer, and have been trying to figure out the best ways to use the devices with my students, without waiting for someone else to build it!

Making learning personal, 2 main projects:

  1. Simulations in the hands of every student
  2. Shortening the time required for feedback, with individualized homework based on each student’s weak areas

 

  1. On your phone/iPad, www.simbucket.com -> “Go to the sims!” -> Accelerometer -> drop your device!
  • With iPads, no more groups of 4 where 1 person does, 1 person watches, and 2 people do nothing!

 

  1. My class vision – Wouldn’t it be great if:
  • Each student could take a completely randomized quiz on a variety of learning objectives, and…
  • The quiz were graded instantly, and…
  • Each student knew immediately when they got the question wrong and what the right answer is, and…
  • When they are done with the quiz, they are linked to a series of activities that are tailored to address their own weak areas, and then…
  • They can fix what they don’t understand within 1 class period, instead of waiting a few weeks to learn it right before the test and forget it immediately afterward?

 

This exists, and we have been using it for the past two years. Questionbank system. The ideas here aren’t new, but the system requires a few things to work:

 

  1. A stable wifi connection for EVERY device
  2. A stable internet connection
  3. Hundreds of questions tagged by objective, with different randomized versions of each question
  4. A server running a database of questions, creating quizzes for students, and tabulating results and reports as appropriate.
  5. A great set of “reinforcement” activities
  6. Most Importantly: A teacher that is willing to run around like crazy helping students on each of their individual assignments!

 

If any one of these are missing, the system doesn’t work. Our biggest challenge has been with wifi. Initially our district was concerned with the size of the broadband pipe to our school, but we are still fighting the wifi issue 3 years later. Here’s an exercise:

  • How many people in this room? How many devices in this room?
  • 28 student ipads + 2 teacher ipad + 29 cell phones, 2 teacher laptops, 50 student devices walking down the hall… you get the picture.

It is so important that we have the technology infrastructure to support innovation in the classroom. From a teacher’s perspective, it is so exciting to see students engage with material in new ways. Thank you


Simbucket Dev Team at ASTE Conference 2015

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 21, 2015

The Simbucket development team has arrived in Anchorage, where they will be featured speakers for the 2015 ASTE Conference “Game On!”.  They are looking forward to showing teachers from all over Alaska how to build HTML5 simulations and games using Construct 2.  Here is a teaser of a new simulation built entirely on the plane ride from Chicago to Alaska:

Center of Mass BuilderCenter of Mass Builder Simulation


Circuit Electron Flow Is Online!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 5, 2015
Circuit Electron Flow

Circuit Electron Flow Simulation

 

Inspired by the work of Professor Bruce Sherwood to create a new, more intuitive way to teach electrical circuits, “Circuit Electron Flow” simulates the flow of electrons through a wire caused by electric fields created by surface charges.  Four different situations are presented, in order of increasing complexity:

  1. Electron flow through a straight wire
  2. Electron flow through a wire with a 90 degree bend
  3. Electron flow through a simple circuit
  4. Electron flow through a “snaky” circuit

This simulation deviates from traditional Ohm’s Law-based circuit analysis techniques, and shows students behavior of the individual electrons in a circuit.  Students no longer are asked to merely accept that electrons flow along a wire, but rather are asked to show *why* electrons would flow along a wire rather than merely away from the negative end of a battery and toward the positive end of a battery.

The simulation is designed to be simple enough to understand by itself, while the corresponding worksheet walks students through a set of increasingly complex scenarios to build their understanding of the physics behind electron flow in a circuit.  For an introduction to the mechanics of electron flow through metal, please see our “Drude Model Conduction” simulation.

 

Please let us know what you think of “Circuit Electron Flow” in the comments below!


Balloon Charging Lab is online!

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics · No Comments · by January 24, 2015

Balloon Charging LabWe are excited to announce our newest simulation, “Balloon Charging Lab”. This simulation walks through the process of charging a balloon, and then allows users to charge other objects. We took great care to represent the motion of the electrons in the various materials in a way that is accessible to middle school and high school physics students, and are looking forward to using it in our classes next week.

The simulation features:
-A realistic balloon hanging from the ceiling by a stretchy string
-Insulators whose electrons randomly move in their atom’s “cloud”, but are influenced by all of the charges around them
-Conductors whose electrons are free to move throughout the material
-Electron transfer between the balloon and the other objects
-Physics-accurate force calculations based on the location of all point charges

Please let us know if you are using the simulation in the comments below!


AAPT eMentoring Webinar – Using Interactive Simulations in the Classroom

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics, Uncategorized · No Comments · by January 13, 2015
AAPT eMentoring Webinar – Using Interactive Simulations in the Classroom

Welcome to the AAPT eMentoring program members! The following is an outline of the presentation given by Chris Bruce on…


DC Circuit Builder – New Physics Labs Available!

Category : Uncategorized · (2) Comments · by January 1, 2015
DC Circuit Builder – New Physics Labs Available!

The Conant High School physics team is proud to announce three new labs for the “DC Circuit Builder” HTML5 circuit…


Featured Simulation – Satellite Motion

Category : High School, Physics · No Comments · by December 28, 2014
Featured Simulation – Satellite Motion

“Satellite Motion” is now available! This interactive is designed to simulate the motion of a commercial satellite in orbit around Earth….


Another Great Physics Simulation Resource

Category : High School, Physics · No Comments · by December 27, 2014

Winter break is a great time to look for new teaching resources.  Here is an excellent one from the “Physics Education” Google+ group:

http://www.tandftechnology.com

There are a huge number of physics simulations here, all developed by Frank McCulley, a high school physics teacher in New Jersey.

We have been looking for a good way to plot data for the “Constant Speed Motion” toy car lab we do at the beginning of the year, and his “Quick Graph and Linearization” tool is exactly what we needed.  It will work on any device with a browser, and it gives a linear best fit line way more quickly than Microsoft Excel.

Let us know in the comments below if you have tried any of Frank’s simulations or tools, or have any other recommendations for great sites!


Featured Sim – Collision Carts

Category : Physics · No Comments · by December 19, 2014

This past week in our iPad 1:1 physics classes we have been exploring momentum. Historically, we have opened with the “collision cart” lab. The plastic carts we use keep breaking and this year we didn’t have enough functional carts to run the lab.

iPads to the rescue! This year we demonstrated the collisions in the front of the room, then had students complete the lab virtually on their iPads.  We had 100% engagement, as every student had to do their own thinking about transfer of momentum between the cars and how to show that momentum was conserved in every collision.

“Collision Cart” sim in each student’s hands + paper copy of lab in each student’s hands + pencil + calculator = 100% engagement

Click the picture below to show the simulation and lab that we used:

Collision Carts


SimBucket is Live!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by December 19, 2014

Over the past year we have been developing simulations and games to use with our students.  For the past few months, The Physics Classroom has been kind enough to host most of it, but we were looking for a way to make all of our work available to the public, including our chemistry and biology simulations.  Thus, SimBucket was born.

Everything on SimBucket is free to use.  We are constantly creating new simulations for our students.  As we create them we will post them here.  We are also constantly creating new supplementary materials for the simulations, including labs and activities.  Please feel free to try them out or modify them however you want.  We have included the original Microsoft Word documents in .docx format.  If you don’t see a lab activity listed on SimBucket, be sure to check that particular simulation’s page on The Physics Classroom, where there might be one already developed.

We hope you enjoy our simulations, and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Sincerely,

Chris Bruce, Martin Kulak, Dave Torpe, and Kevin Shane

Conant Physics Team


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