Adaptable Simulations for Introductory Physics (ASIP) Workshop

November 16-18, 2006 at Lee College, Baytown, TX (near Houston)

Mario Belloni, Davidson College, Davidson, NC

Anne Cox, Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL

Karim Diff, SanteSanta Fe Community College, Gainesville, FL

Brian Lamore, The Chinquapin School, Highlands, TX

Dwain Desbien, Estrella Mountain Community College, Avondale, AZ

Tom O’Kuma, Lee College, Baytown, TX

Particpants please click here for more information on travel to the workshop and various forms that need to be completed

Recent physics education research findings indicates that the “traditional” lecture-style, passive learning model does not substantially impact the learning and understanding of most students who take introductory physics. The research also indicates that most students enter introductory physics with alternative conceptions to many of the basic concepts that are taught in introductory physics. For most students, passive learning techniques generally do not replace these “misconceptions” with concepts that are more consistent with our understanding of nature. Results from physics education research have indicated identified several different active learning techniques that have substantially increased student conceptual understanding in introductory physics.

Computer simulations, for example, can provide an interactive and conceptual mode for student understanding.  Simulations  alone, however, are not necessarily the answer for increasing student understanding.  They must be informed by good pedagogical practices and must be adaptable to a variety of educational environments.  Thus, this Adaptable Simulations for Introductory Physics (ASIP) workshop will allow participants to learn how to modify and create simulations, but, more importantly, workshop participants and leaders will explore how these simulations can be used most effectively in the classroom.  This often means coupling simulations with various teaching strategies including Just-in-Time-Teaching, Peer Instruction, Tutorials, and Ranking Tasks.

This workshop will introduce participants to a variety of resources for using simulations from ready-to-run simulations to authoring individual java applets.  Participants will work with Physlets© (physics applets) and Open Source Physics resources (  Included in this set of resources are tools for authoring simulations (Easy Java Simulations) and video analysis (Tracker).  During this workshop, participants will become familiar with the variety of resources available to deliver web-based interactive media-focused problems and other interactive curricular material to students.  Participants will also develop the ability and skills to modify, adapt, and construct new materials.  One of the goals of this workshop is to provide a flexible suite of resources appropriate to different levels of instruction as well as different levels of geekiness (WC definition)technological sophistication(from low to high) so that participants can choose what will be most successful in their home environment.

To help provide a solid pedagogical framework for these simulations, participants will also become familiar with various TIPERs (Tasks Inspired by Physics Education Research) and develop several of their own. These pencil and paper tasks will include ranking tasks, working backwards problems (also known as Jeopardy problems), predict and explain tasks, concept oriented demonstration tasks, qualitative reasoning tasks, predict and explain tasks, and many more.  These TIPERs make a good foundation for building curricular material around simulations.

Once familiar with simulation resources informed by TIPERs, participants will have an opportunity to develop new materials for their students in a collaborative group of other TYC and HS educators.  Of course all development of new materials must be in the context of the local environment and so the workshop will pay special attention to implementation at TYCs and HSs. Several methods of integrating the ideas presented at this workshop into the curricula will be discussed including results from TYC and HS settings.

The workshop leaders have many years of experience in developing and refining curriculum for introductory physics students. In addition, and more importantly, the workshop leaders have had extensive experience with the implementation and adaptation of curriculum in a variety of institutions and for many types of introductory physics students along with the training of faculty in using and developing their own curricula for their technology-oriented students.

The local host will be Tom O’Kuma who has hosted many workshops in the past and has worked with many TYC and HS physics teachers over the past twenty years.

Apply to attend this workshop

Return to Home page