This page last changed on Jun 01, 2009 by kbell.

[Note: this is a collaborative work in progress\-\-feel free to add and edit.]

Force and Motion Module

We propose to create computer-based activities that support instruction that covers all the California sub-standards for force and motion and inquiry. The activities will be in the form of curriculum materials for each major topic. We envision that teachers could integrate these materials into their usual approach. These new materials might include a lecture-demo introducing the software, a day-long investigation using probes and models, assessments (including California released items), and extensions. We will then work with the teachers to create lesson plans that include other material. In addition, there would be an open-ended project designed to address the seven "Investigation and Experimentation" standards.

We lack the resources to create a complete force and motion curriculum. Since it includes about one-third of the state sub-standards in content (13 of 39) for this grade, it is reasonable to assume that 20% to 30% of the year would be devoted to force and motion. This might amount to approximately six to ten weeks of class time. As a compromise, we are recommending the creation of a topic-oriented curriculum framework that is partially filled with content from the project. Our content will address every force and motion content standard but teachers will need more activities that we can produce. We will, therefore rely on there being classroom activities and real labs in addition, that we could suggest.

Software tools needed

  • SimCalc knock-off. This would link a dynamic environment with a grapher. For starters, we will use Dynamica, MW or NetLogo for environment, and CCGraph for the graph. The PhET "Moving Man" might be a good substitute
  • Force and Motion Graphing We need the the standard Vernier ultrasonic and force detectors with the CC software data capture that can send a data stream to the grapher, to the motion visualizer, or to MW. We worry about the practicality of using a force detector for scaling up, but we will supply them for the research.
  • Video analysis tool. This new software would support easy entry of videos, and step-by-step hand extraction of x-y-t data by having the user click on the still image, as VideoPoint software does. We found an open source version of VideoPoint at Perhaps we can link that into our system as a data producer and consumer. This would allow us to blend models with video so that students could play with the model to try to make it do what a video of the real thing does.
  • PhET sims. We could use several of the PhET simulations, if we can get them integrated into our system so we can monitor student use.
  • Temperature grapher. A sensitive temperature sensor hooked to the graph would be useful for friction measurements. We might not justify the expense for H&M, but we will definitely need this sensor for the chemistry unit.
  • Problem poser. Asks rt = d questions without end, randomly selecting r, t, or d to solve for, with different (reasonable) values, units, and contexts. Make general for any equations.

Topics 1 to 10 are detailed on individual pages (Children of this page - access directly below)

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