Preview of Next Global Physics Department meeting (4/27): Computational Modeling with vpython

Danny Cabellero will be speaking at our next meeting about vpython, an open-source programming language that allows students to create powerful 3-d computational models with a very small amount of code. I’ve pasted an example of one simulation at the bottom of this post. 

Danny would like to get your feedback before the presentation, so please take a moment to complete this short survey about your teaching and questions about vpython. 

Also, I’ve posted a reflection about the GPD and a bit of a preview of what vpython can do on in a post on my blog: 

Global Physics Department Update

I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday,

-John Burk 


<p>vpython orbit from occam98 on Vimeo.</p>

#5: Joss Ives: Two-stage quizzes (4/13/12)

This is a copy of the transcript from the discussion (sorry about the bad formatting from the cut and paste): 

oined on April 13, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): (fight entropy)

JT Millerphysics: Physics pick up line: I am so attracted to you because you are so massive.

JT Millerphysics: Wins them over everytime

Me: what’s the topic again tonight?

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): Joss’ two stage quizzes

Moderator (Joss): ya

AMulry: The bad news is that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Amoebas is shrinking.  The good news is that none of the amoebas have lost any of their members.

scott thomas: not me

Andrew Morrison: no

JT Millerphysics: hello

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): cool, the stars aren’t always in the middle of the box

Kerry Gogush Cule: Hi folks….do you know of an electronic tool that would work like this?

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): I think some clickers could keep track of how many wrong answers they’ve entered

scott thomas: cps has a practice/individual paced/ or teacher paced.

scott thomas: practice they can’t progress until the right answer

Me: @kerry, if kids have laptops/ipads, you could do something like this with webassign.

scott thomas: yes from eInstruction

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): but I don’t think any clicker system gives students the immediate feedback that this system does

scott thomas: cps (eInstruction) shows right or wrong on the clicker display

Kerry Gogush Cule: Thanks @john. I work in a virtual school, so I need something electronic

scott thomas: at first several a year

brybatt 1: Those sheets seem like they would be expensive… but cool.

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): are your groups fixed, or do they change each time?

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): here’s the order form:

brybatt 1: Thanks Andy.

brybatt 1: Is the individual and group quiz the same quiz?

scott thomas: does the learning appear on later assessments?

scott thomas: thanks

Kevin McChesney: Have you ever done test corrections? Where students that take a test can fix it with explanations for partial credit but can use anybody to help them figure it out?

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): Does that work for you Kevin?

Sam Evans: wondering how this would work with SBG?

Kevin McChesney: Yes i have seen pretty good results and when I talk to parents they like the idea of learning from mistakes before they move on. I find 1 day of corrections cuts down on re-teach time and it is then specific help to each student.

DaveWiggins 1: You only use the scratch sheets for the group portion?

scott thomas: for the individual questions, can they answer those more than once?  do they know if they were right or wrong going into the group phase?

Kevin McChesney: I did them as a way to not have to curve for me and I don’t have to round grades. if a student does corrections I would round if they didnt I would not since they didn’t do the work to help their grade

brybatt 1: Do any of you correct tests or quizzes in class? or do you all correct them yourselves?

scott thomas: Just to throw it out there, I started using a review game the day before a test, game is played in groups.  Winning group gets a bonus for the test.  Lower pressure than the test, but gives them feedback.

JT Millerphysics: How do you set up the answers on the scratch cards?

Me: I’m not sure you need to grade the group work in SBG.

Me: Students could just reassess later if they wanted to show more understanding.

Me: Joss’s data could also really show them how helpful group work is for developing understanding.

Me: setting up mic

JT Millerphysics: ok

AMulry: Do you think that group quizzes would still work without the ability to give immediate feedback?  Or are the IF-AT sheets (or other facsimile, e.g. clickers) absolutely necessary?

brybatt 1: Could you have the group turn in the quiz and just grade it quickly and then give them a chance to correct the wrong responses?

Kevin McChesney: I use LON-CAPA (similar to webassign) and the immediate feedback feature is something students really like.

DaveWiggins 1: Have you ever had problems with a few students taking a long time on the individual part?

brybatt 1: I’d love that data! I’m in the midst of a class revolt John.

Sam Evans: yes! …john can you post link?

Me: looking up link now…

Kevin McChesney: Would adding a part to the google doc page a part for helpful links and why they are good?

Me: @Kevin, great idea…

AMulry: Agreed.

Me: Link to google doc page (please sign in if you haven’t already):

Kevin McChesney: Thanks I get 1 per year so I am out

scott thomas: are peole here aware of the diigo group for physics teachers?

Kevin McChesney: No

brybatt 1: no

JT Millerphysics: no

Kevin McChesney: link to diigo please

Me: global physics department minutes:…

Kevin McChesney: What does small class = for you JT?

scott thomas: not sure if this works or not, but…

scott thomas:

JT Millerphysics: small= 18 average= 24 large =30+

Me: Link to my blog post on how we do grading:


scott thomas: started looking into it, but not too much yet

brybatt 1: no. I’m still struggling through the basics!

Me: link to science news article on homeowrk (paywall, am working to get around it):

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): I associate some standards to group work, and evaluate based on that

Me: You could create a groupwork standard….

scott thomas: student will show improvement in understanding after group discussions?

Kerry Gogush Cule: YES!

JT Millerphysics: yes.

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): I can upload a feedback presentation

Me: not sure…. but I was thinking about the post on the active grade blog today…

brybatt 1: @joss will you be posting this slideshow to the googledocs page?

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): But mainly assess accuracy (25%), safety, for lab-based (25%), and community (50%)

Moderator (Joss): it’s on my blog hold on

Andrew Morrison: how often do students form into the same groups?

Me: here’s a story on the homework and grades things that isn’t paywalled:

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): it is mainly self-evaluated, and i give my 2cents

Me: bottom line, homework copying turns A’s into B’s and so on.

Moderator (Joss):

Moderator (Joss): lol

brybatt 1: @John Interesting.

Kevin McChesney: Very interesting

brybatt 1: @Joss – Thanks.

Kerry Gogush Cule: @andy I love that solution!

Me: I would think cramster is having a big effect on advanced classes (when all solutions to griffiths are online, etc). Andy’s pencasts are a great solution…

scott thomas: do you mean you make your students make vodcasts for hw?

Kevin McChesney: I found using an online homework assignment that the people that copy really struggle until they figure out how to work and then they have much better discussions about how to solve

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): yep, Scott

Sam Evans: @john but you don’t give homework? or you just don’t ‘grade’ homework?

Kevin McChesney: What do you use for pencast?

JT Millerphysics: cool

brybatt 1: That’s awesome.

Kerry Gogush Cule: VoiceThread is also very useful for that kind of thing

Kevin McChesney: I have just heard of that I need to get Doug Forrest to this meeting he teaches at Pick North

scott thomas: do all the students have the exact same problem, or do you use algorithms with different numbers?

brybatt 1: Math people suck!

Kevin McChesney: Same problem different numbers

brybatt 1:   

scott thomas: is dan meyer in there?

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): how about chem?   

Kerry Gogush Cule: @brybatt ha!

JT Millerphysics: well not sure

Me: I’m looking up website now…

JT Millerphysics: fine with the math folk. some teachers at my school could be interested.

Me: Math Future Group:

Me: Seems to be a lot of stuff there.

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): You can also add text comments.

Kerry Gogush Cule: trying to get my microphone working…

Kerry Gogush Cule: very flexible…can add text, sketched, voice, video comments

scott thomas: what is the site/tool?

Kerry Gogush Cule:

Moderator (Joss):

Moderator (Joss): doh

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): Voicethread could be a good medium for WCYDWT outside of class

Kevin McChesney: WCYDWT?

Kevin McChesney: Oh and JT this week were unblocked along with twitter!!!

AMulry: “What Can You Do With This?”

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): ‘what can you do with that Using images/multimedia to spark student questions

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem):

Me: WCYDWT: what can you do with this…from Dan Meyer:

Me: I’m also wondering what people make of the new discovery from Fermilab about the possible new particle….

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): baby?

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem):   

Kerry Gogush Cule: Wow…sounds little!

Kevin McChesney: Physics talk = sleep say it ins’t so

Moderator (Joss): andy, what ideas do you have for voicethread?

scott thomas: jtmiller, it came as a download fyi

AMulry: Here too.

Kevin McChesney: me also

Andrew Morrison: If you need contacts at FermiLab let me know.

Ms. Bethea (21stcenturychem): maybe go to blank slide?

Moderator (Joss): got it

Moderator (Joss): funny

Kerry Gogush Cule: @Joss – I have used VoiceThread to review tests, to reflect on lab investigations, etc)

Kevin McChesney: Would it be wrong to say that’s what she said?

Andrew Morrison: No, but I know many people there.

Moderator (Joss): @kerry – thanks. have you been doing it for marks

Andrew Morrison: I’m about 12 miles away.

Kerry Gogush Cule: Nice pic JT   

scott thomas: square wave, nice

Kevin McChesney: Very cool

Kerry Gogush Cule: @Joss – Test review (no), reflection on labs (yes)

Moderator (Joss): lon-capa = free!

scott thomas: textbook/hw online

Moderator (Joss): @kerry, what sort of reflection on labs? Like a video lab report?

Kevin McChesney: I would be interested

scott thomas: wileyplus similar to

scott thomas: a little cheaper

Sam Evans: thx!

ed hitchcock: what was that called?

Moderator (Joss): lon-capa

Moderator (JT Millerphysics): Are all the links shared tonight on the google docs?

Kerry Gogush Cule: @joss – not that involved…more like analysis questions that they have to answer/share/discuss

Moderator (Joss): @kerry – do they see each other’s discussions?

Moderator (Andy Rundquist): google docs link again:

Moderator (Andy Rundquist):…

Me: No. we should add them….I’ll add some of the links I posted. I think it might be better to put them in the posterous site, though, since that’s where andy puts the links.

Me: Yes, we could add link in posterous to the gdoc

Kerry Gogush Cule: @joss – I set it up that way, but there is a “moderate comments” setting as well

Moderator (JT Millerphysics): Did we record tonight?

Moderator (Joss): @kerry – thanks

AMulry: WHA?!

Me: we’re using the posterous site as a nice place to put the archives of the meeting.

AMulry: ME?!

Kevin McChesney: haha glad I am not the only one with moments

brybatt 1: Nose goes.

Andrew Morrison: What is the posterous link?

Moderator (JT Millerphysics): I forgive

Moderator (Joss): do it andrea!

Moderator (Joss): yuo’re the boss now

scott thomas: can you at least copy/paste the dialogue?

AMulry: @Joss:  Awesome.

Moderator (JT Millerphysics): Good night all.

Moderator (Joss): gnight jt

Kevin McChesney: Good night JT

Kerry Gogush Cule: Bye!

brybatt 1: Where are the recorded sessions stored? I missed the last two weeks and they were topics I wanted to hear!

scott thomas: great talk tonight, but I gotta go as well.

Me: at the posterous site…

brybatt 1: okay cool thanks.

Moderator (Joss):

ed hitchcock: This is my paper version of randomized problems:

DaveWiggins 1: feel. your. pain.

Sam Evans: have to head out…looking forward to next week. cheers