Implementing VPython Martin S. Mason Mt. San Antonio College

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  • Implementing VPython Martin S. Mason Mt. San Antonio College
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  • Engineering Physics Course Integrated Lecture/Lab course. (Workshop Style) Integrated Lecture/Lab course. (Workshop Style) Course meets three times a week for 2.75 hours or twice a week for 4 hours. Course meets three times a week for 2.75 hours or twice a week for 4 hours. Co-Requisite of Calc2 and Pre-Requisite of Trig based Physics Co-Requisite of Calc2 and Pre-Requisite of Trig based Physics Majority of Students are UC Bound in Engineering and Science Majority of Students are UC Bound in Engineering and Science
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  • Course Evaluation: 3 Midterms (30%) 3 Midterms (30%) Comprehensive Final (15%) Comprehensive Final (15%) 3 Projects (30%) 3 Projects (30%) Weekly Quizzes (5%) Weekly Quizzes (5%) Daily Homework (Mastering Physics) (10%) Daily Homework (Mastering Physics) (10%) Laboratory Documentation (10%) Laboratory Documentation (10%)
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  • Organization of Typical Day QOD (Question of the Day) QOD (Question of the Day) An activity designed to elicit students pre- conceptions about a particular topic. Discussion of Pre-Lab Work Discussion of Pre-Lab Work Laboratory Activity Laboratory Activity Post Discussion of Laboratory Activity (Includes Problem Solving) Post Discussion of Laboratory Activity (Includes Problem Solving) Integrate outcomes of Laboratory Activity into Project Integrate outcomes of Laboratory Activity into Project
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  • Computational Labs Can do computational modeling as individual lab activities. Can do computational modeling as individual lab activities. Emphasis on students DOING programming instead of working with simulations. Emphasis on students DOING programming instead of working with simulations. Integrate computational labs with Traditional Labs Integrate computational labs with Traditional Labs
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  • Use of Computational Labs Week 1Intro to Vpython (Vectors) Week 2 Fancart (1D accelerated motion) -> non-constant acceleration Week 3Gravitational Force Week 6-7Spaceship voyage Week 12-13Mass on a Spring Week 3Intro to Vpython (Vectors -> E&M) Week 5E Field of Point Charge & E Field of Dipole Week 7EField of Rod Week 12Mag Force on moving charged particle
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  • Assessment Why do we assess student work? Why do we assess student work? What is the purpose of documentation? What is the purpose of documentation? Students maintain an online blog about their work Students maintain an online blog about their work
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  • Projects Three 5 week projects. Three 5 week projects. Six hours in class and 20-30 hours outside of class. Six hours in class and 20-30 hours outside of class. Project is designed to require course material from that five week period and before. Project is designed to require course material from that five week period and before. Projects change every semester. Projects change every semester. Project is presented as a formal powerpoint presentation. Project is presented as a formal powerpoint presentation.
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  • Evaluation of Projects 20 minute Group Presentation Present PowerPoint and VPython Rubric 10 minute Individual Meeting
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  • Example First Project Model the behavior of a foam rocket launched from an elastic launcher. Model the behavior of a foam rocket launched from an elastic launcher. Compare the results of your model to the actual trajectory determine from video analysis. Compare the results of your model to the actual trajectory determine from video analysis. Competition. Competition.
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  • Example Second Project Create a system of three lunar orbiting communication satellites that always provide a link from the north pole of the moon to the earth. Create a system of three lunar orbiting communication satellites that always provide a link from the north pole of the moon to the earth. Include the gravitational effects of both the moon and earth on the satellites. Include the gravitational effects of both the moon and earth on the satellites. Show that your system is stable for 10 years. Show that your system is stable for 10 years.
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  • Sample Final Project A mass is placed on a low friction cart attached to a spring. At what amplitude will the mass on the cart begin to slip? A mass is placed on a low friction cart attached to a spring. At what amplitude will the mass on the cart begin to slip? Video of System Video of System Computational model Computational model Textbook solution makes many simplifying assumptions Textbook solution makes many simplifying assumptions
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  • Outcomes: More students transition into summer REU/Research programs. More students transition into summer REU/Research programs. Anecdotal reports are positive about the utility of projects after transfer. Anecdotal reports are positive about the utility of projects after transfer. Difficult to measure impact on traditional assessment. Difficult to measure impact on traditional assessment. Student retention was lower for first three semester after the projects were implemented, but has climbed back up. Student retention was lower for first three semester after the projects were implemented, but has climbed back up.
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  • Project Grades vs. Exam Grades Projects measure different skills then exams. Projects measure different skills then exams. Students who do well on exams do not always do well on projects and vice versa. Students who do well on exams do not always do well on projects and vice versa. Project RankExam Rank 14 22 33 46 520 67 714 81 918 1012 1116 1211 138 1415 17 169 1710 185 1913 2019
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