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Wednesday afternoon
3:30-3:40 p.m. The Elitzur-Vaidman Bomb Paradox as a
Fun Lab Exercise
Contributed – Patrick C. Hecking, Thiel College, 75 College Ave., Greenville,
PA 16125;
The Elitzur-Vaidman bomb thought experiment involves a quality test for
a bomb, which is triggered by the absorption of a photon. Classically it
is impossible to test a “good” bomb and certify that it will work without
exploding it and therefore making it useless. Quantum Mechanics makes
such a test possible by shifting from the wave to the particle picture. A lab
exercise using dice and a score sheet has been developed to simulate a fun-
filled game with “good” and “bad” bombs and a study of probabilities.
3:40-3:50 p.m. Building Modeling Skills and Developing
Science Identity in Physics Freshmen
Contributed – Joel C. Corbo, University of California, Berkeley, 1930 Chan-
ning Way, #3C, Berkeley, CA 94704;
Acquiring research skills and developing an identity as a scientist are
critical to the development of young physicists but often neglected in un-
dergraduate physics courses. While some students develop these traits “on
the job” as undergraduate researchers, many leave the physics major before
experiencing what being a scientist is all about. To counteract this trend,
the Berkeley Compass Project offers a freshman course called “Introduc-
tion to Modeling” that emphasizes the actual practice of science. In it,
students engage in model-building through guided activities related to the
ray model of light. They then use the skills acquired to conduct research
projects guided by graduate student advisors and culminating in papers
and a poster session. The students also reflect on their “scientific identi-
ties” through a series of readings, discussions, and self-evaluations. In this
presentation, we discuss the methods and activities used in this course and
the positive outcomes experienced by our students.
3:50-4 p.m. Using Centripetal Forces to Model Ocean
Contributed – John Fons, Universty of Wisconsin-Rock County, 2909 Kellogg
Ave., Janesville, WI 53546;
Using a very basic understanding of solving centripetal force problems, it
is possible to accurately model the frequency and depths of oceanic tides
throughout the day. The computer/calculator modeling is easily com-
pleted in simple software packages such as Excel and can be performed
by students who have a solid fundamental grasp on centripetal forces and
resolving vectors.
4-4:10 p.m. Asking Teachers: Utility of Expert-like
Framework in High School Physics
Contributed – Andrew Mason, University of Central Arkansas, Department of
Physics and Astronomy, Lewis Science Center, Conway, AR 72035;
Mishal Benson, University of Central Arkansas
One method of improving standards in K-12 education is to approach
students with elements of college-level physics to better prepare them
for higher levels of learning. One such element that may prove useful
is the ability to practice an expert-like problem-solving framework for
introductory-level physics problems. We chose a sample of computer
coaching modules, initially developed for a university-level calculus-
based curriculum,­
and minimally changed them to suit an algebra-based
curriculum. Four in-service high school physics teachers were consulted
in a workshop setting for feedback as to the utility of these coaches in the
classroom and the usefulness as to the intent of their design. We report on
the participants? feedback. Topics of interest include potential use in a high
school classroom, and also potential use for teacher training.
1. In collaboration with L. Hsu, Q. Xu, K. Heller at University of Minnesota
4:10-4:20 p.m. Flow Visualization of Vortex Dynamics
Contributed – John S. Allen, Department Mechanical Engineering, University
of Hawaii-Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96822;
Examples of vortices in an undergraduate fluid dynamics course often
include those that can occur in nature such as tornadoes and dust devils.
Wakes of moving objects may contain vortices and they can play an
important role in propulsion. The vortices in the wake generated by a
fish engaged in undulatory motion alternate between the clockwise and
counter-clockwise directions. The leg kick of a human swimmer perform-
ing the butterfly stroke also generates vortices such that bound vortex
forms around each foot. The magnitude of the resulting merged vortex ring
can be related to propulsion efficiency. Using a custom bubble injection
and visualization system with an air compressor, ring vortices from but-
terfly kicks were investigated by undergraduate students at the swimming
pool. Underwater cameras and motion analysis software were used to
quantify the associated biomechanical parameters. The flux of vortex lines
can discussed with Kelvin?s circulation theorem.
PERC: Bridging Session
Location: Grand Ballroom I
Sponsor: AAPT PER
Date: Wednesday, July 17
Time: 4:30–8:30 p.m.
Presider: Dedra Demaree
L0901: 4:30-6 p.m. Affect Not as an Afterthought: Coupling
Content and Social-Psychological Aspects in Physics
Invited – Noah D. Finkelstein, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2000 Colorado
Ave., Boulder, CO 80309-0390;
Learning is a matter of socialization. As such, we can build on efforts over
the last couple of decades to further expand the goals of physics teaching
and learning beyond the historic measures of content mastery. We are now
poised to examine how social and psychological domains impact and are
impacted by the traditional content we so dearly love. Drawing from a
theoretical tradition that takes play seriously, I explore a few environments
where play and “messing about” simultaneously develop student affect
and content mastery. At CU we are involved in: research documenting the
engagement of youth in science to promote identity and content mastery;
studies linking psychological effects to student performance and retention
in college physics; and, investigations of the impacts of advanced under-
graduate and graduate experiences that encourage productive messing
about as scientists. These studies challenge the historical divides between
formal / informal, content/ form, and content/ affect.
PL0902: 4:30-6 p.m. Having the Journey: Physics Education and
Transformative Experiences
Invited – Kevin J. Pugh, University of Northern Colorado, Campus Box 94,
Greeley, CO 80639;
John Dewey argued that the curriculum should be a guide and not a
substitute for having our own journey with the content. I agree and believe
the purpose of science education should be to transform the way we see
and experience the world, an outcome I refer to as a transformative experi-
ence. In this talk, I explain the nature of transformative experiences and
present a model of fostering transformative experiences in science. This
model has roots in Dewey’s theory of aesthetic experience and was refined
through design-based research. Instructional principles central to the
model include: 1) artistically selecting and crafting content, 2) scaffolding
re-seeing, and 3) modeling transformative experiences.
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