aapt_program_final_sm13 - page 99

July 13–17, 2013
Tuesday afternoon
Session EH: High School
Location: Galleria II
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Tuesday, July 16
Time: 4–4:40 p.m.
Presider: Lee Trampleasure
4-4:10 p.m. Engaging Students in the Scientific
Practices Using the Patterns Approach
Contributed – Bradford Hill, Southridge High School, 9625 SW 125th Ave.,
Beaverton, OR 97008;
The Patterns Approach for Physics is driven by the recurring question:
“How do we find and use patterns in nature to predict the future and un-
derstand the past?” Students are continually engaged in scientific practices,
starting with anchoring experiments that contextualize four common pat-
terns in physics: linear, quadratic, inverse and inverse square. Inquiry and
engineering experiences serve to spiral the anchoring patterns with new
physics concepts, developing conceptual, graphical, and symbolic under-
standing. Each experiment begins with an initial guess that is contrasted
with a data-informed prediction, found by extrapolation of the pattern in
the data. This allows students to explicitly compare low- to high-evidence
predictions and builds an experiential case for why we engage in scientific
practices. Creating models and discussing their limitations is also key. The
Patterns Approach has been used within freshman and IB courses and is
published in the March issue of
The Science Teacher.
4:10-4:20 p.m. Three Engineering Projects that Start
with Inquiry Experiments
Contributed – Heather E. Buskirk, Johnstown High School, 1 Sir Bills Circle,
Johnstown, NY 12095;
Bradford K. Hill, Beaverton School District
By structuring engineering projects so they start with inquiry experiments
students can experience STEM as a truly integrated experience. Three such
engineering projects are presented in project-based learning model. In
the Wind Turbine, Bridge Design, and Barbie Bungee Adventure students
act as members of an Engineering Firm bidding to win a contract. The
students must engage in the engineering cycle to address the problem, but
then engage in the inquiry cycle to develop data to inform their design.
The inquiry cycle often uses technology and mathematics, thus bringing
STEM together. These projects, while familiar to many physics classrooms,
are presented in the context of the Pattern Approach to teaching Physics so
the supporting materials and examples discussed would allow a teacher to
easily use them in their own classrooms.
4:20-4:30 p.m. Equilibrium of Levers with a ‘Rolling’ xis
of Rotation
Contributed – Qiwei Zhao, Shanghai High School, local division, 400 Shang-
zhong Road, Shanghai, 200023, China PR;
The lever with a fixed axis is nothing new. But when the axis is movable,
even the simplest structure can sometimes present surprise for high school
students. In this demonstration a lever is put on an axis that can freely roll
on plane, looking for balance between a pair of forces. Then it is shown,
experimentally and theoretically, that for equilibrium a set of special
conditions must by met (say the inclination of the rod), which are usually
beyond the expectation of most students (and me). Although the explana-
tion isn’t straightforward, no advanced statics theory beyond the ability of
most G11 students is required. The last feature is that the setup is extremely
simple and no lubrication is needed at all. Rather, it requires friction to
work properly!
4:30-4:40 p.m. Bring Wave Interference to Life with an
Inexpensive Michelson Interferometer
Contributed – Dale Ingram, LIGO Hanford Observatory, PO Box 159, Rich-
land, WA 99253,
Interferometers can offer students an interesting view of some of the ap-
plications of wave interference, building upon understandings that arise
from traditional slit interference experiments. In this session, LIGO (Laser
Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) will introduce two ver-
sions of simple Michelson interferometers. Construction of each can be
accomplished for roughly $100. These devices make a helpful bridge for
teachers who introduce their students to the search for gravitational waves.
Several uncomplicated experiments of high precision are possible once the
instruments are successfully assembled. Session participants will receive
interferometer parts lists and assembly instructions and will experiment
with assembled examples.
Session EI: PER: Reasoning,
Mathematics, and Representations
Location: Pavilion East
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Tuesday, July 16
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Presider: Beth Lindsey
4-4:10 p.m. Measuring Proportional Reasoning with a
Research-based Assessment Suite*
Contributed – Andrew Boudreaux, Western Washington University, 516 High
St., Bellingham, WA 98225-9164;
Stephen E. Kanim, New Mexico State University
Suzanne W. Brahmia, Rutgers University
Recent work in PER has examined the impact of scientific reasoning ability
on student learning gains in introductory physics courses. Proportional
reasoning is typically included as an important part of scientific reason-
ing. Proportional reasoning, however, is not well defined or monolithic,
but rather consists of a variety of components, with expertise character-
ized by skill in selecting from among these components and fluency in
shifting from one to another. An ongoing collaboration between Western
Washington University, New Mexico State University, and Rutgers seeks to
map the cognitive terrain in this area by developing a set of proportional
reasoning components and designing assessment items to probe ability
along those components. Free-response versions of these items have been
tested extensively with students. Responses have been used to develop a
suite of multiple choice items. This talk will describe the assessment suite
and present results from a variety of introductory physics courses.
*This work is supported by NSF DUE-1045227, NSF DUE-1045231, NSF DUE-
4:10-4:20 p.m. Math in Math, Math in Physics*
Contributed – Steve Kanim, New Mexico State University, PO Box 30001,
MSC 3D, Las Cruces, NM 88003;
Suzanne Brahmia, Rutgers University
Andrew Boudreaux, Western Washington University
The degree to which students struggle with basic mathematics in introduc-
tory physics is often surprising, even to experienced instructors. As part
of an ongoing investigation into student use of proportions in introduc-
tory physics, we have been looking at student responses to questions
about proportions in physics and in everyday contexts. At times it seems
that the difficulties we are observing have less to do with the proportions
themselves than with fundamental differences between how students and
physics instructors think about the purposes of mathematics and about the
meanings of mathematical expressions. This in turn has led us to look for
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