Computer Science Education Week was December 4-10 this year, which was marked by events across the globe. As a result, many more teachers and students than usual went searching for coding activities on hourofcode.com/learn According to the site data (see below) this increased the traffic to the STEMcoding “Physics of Video Games!” activity by about 7 times! We also got e-mails every day from educators asking for access to the lesson guides. It was a great week for the STEMcoding project!
It’s official! the STEMcoding hour of code submission has been approved by code.org and posted to hourofcode.com where students and teachers across the country (and even the world!) will more easily find it. It joins a handful of other science-focused activities and it is essentially the first physics-focused coding activity on hourofcode.com which is the most popular computer science education page on the internet!
Recently, the STEMcoding project recorded videos to accompany the first few exercises in order to submit to hourofcode.com which is a national website for computer science education. The tutorials explain the physics of video games and how to code simple but fun games for high school aged students (9-12th grade). If approved, our tutorial will be the first physics-focused set of activities on the hour of code.
Undergraduates from OSU and the University of Mt. Union star in the recordings. Try it out at go.osu.edu/hourofcode
Funding from an OSU connect & collaborate grant very much helped in creating our hour of code submission.
Thanks to the hard work of former Reynoldsburg STEM high school teacher Joe Griffith, we now have detailed solutions and teacher guides for all of our physics exercises (currently there are 15!).
The link to the teacher guides is available near the top of go.osu.edu/physics_coding but you’ll have to e-mail Prof. Chris Orban for the password.
An important aspect of the teacher guides is that many of the exercises can be used without having the students code. For example, students can just change the parameters in the program and see the effect in order to strengthen their conceptual knowledge.
Another important detail of the teacher guides is that Joe Griffith comes from a “modeling instruction” background, which means that he is an expert in developing classroom activities that are active learning and participatory.
This is a big landmark in our effort to provide well-thought out coding resources to teachers. Thanks again to Joe Griffith for putting this together!
In June 2017 and again in August 2017, STEMcoding partnered with the ASPIRE physics camp for high school girls led by OSU Prof. Amy Connolly. As one of the main tasks of the camp, participants worked through the first few programming activities from the STEMcoding project. Many of the students chose to spend more time on the programming activities when given extra project time!
We couldn’t help but share this perspective from a teacher on the need to integrate coding into essentially all the subjects in schools. Coding is not an obscure thing any more. It’s an indispensable tool for everyone!
The STEMcoding project has a serious research component. The first paper was posted to arXiv in January 2017, but recently we received permission from the IRB to include student data (N = 85) from the Marion campus (which makes it a much, much better paper!). Here is the link to the paper (including the student data):
Importantly, the student data shows that even for a classes with a high percentage of absolute beginner programmers, students do not find the exercises to be overly difficult. This result is encouraging for using this content in high school level physics!
The paper has been submitted for peer review, which will take a month or more to complete.
All of the physics exercises and solutions have been posted to compadre.org/PICUP which is home to the largest initiative by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) to integrate computer science into physics! To find the exercises, search on “high school” content. Teachers should send the organizers an e-mail to access the solutions.
We are excited to partner with the PICUP collaboration!
You can also go to go.osu.edu/physics_coding to work on the exercises, but teachers won’t be able to find the solutions there.