AAPT_Poster_VPython

# AAPT_Poster_VPython - Using VPython to Apply Mathematics to...

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Unformatted text preview: Using VPython to Apply Mathematics to Physics in Mathematical Methods Dedra Demaree, James Eagan, Patrick Finn, Brian Knight, John Singleton, Alfred Therrien The College of the Holy Cross The course: Mathematical Methods for physics at the College of the Holy Cross First semester Sophomore physics course, 11 students (9 of which are physics majors) Course contains few examples of applying math to physical situations (due to intense schedule) VPython is new to Holy Cross physics 650 Course Points: 90 from VPython 110 from homework, 300 from 3 midterms, 150 from final Programming homework worth 45 points, independent final programming project worth 45 points 4 class hours devoted to programming in a lab Only one student claimed to have prior programming experience, though there were indications that more of them may have What we did: pre-written activities Followed activities from pre-written workshop exercises borrowed from the VPython workshop run by Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood Introduction to VPython: Students modeled balls, vectors, and a static planetary system Modeling motion: Students modeled a cart moving on a track Planetary motion: Students modeled orbits and a binary star system Simple Harmonic Motion: oscillating mass on a spring What we did: beyond pre-written activities Pre-written activities guided students with code for learning the programming language, and with specific steps to help students see how to program the physics equations The simple harmonic motion program gave less guidance – it was used as a bridge toward independent programming The last programming homework was to model a simple pendulum, minimal instruction was given Students completed independent final projects in the areas of astronomy, motion of solids, electric and magnetic fields, and oscillations Survey Responses: How did you like using VPython All students stated they liked using VPython Some students commented they felt it helped see links between math and physics, but others commented they liked it but found it irrelevant A few students stated it was a fun alternative to other assignments “Liked it, helpful for understanding both computer programming as well as how physics can be applied to actual phenomena” “Neat being able to program simple systems and see the results of the physics” “Easy enough, didn’t seem relevant” “Very cool” Survey Responses: Did you find it easy or hard to learn?...
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AAPT_Poster_VPython - Using VPython to Apply Mathematics to...

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