Day 2- Computational Modeling Physics First (CMPF)

We started today off with reviewing our discussion from yesterday. First, we made WB of how a flipbook would look like if we drew the motion. I guess it’s more like a comic strip than a flipbook, but you get the point. Our group got to examine what mass on a spring looked like. We were given instructions to have initial and final states, then it was up to us what we were supposed to draw in between. Our group decided to annotate our drawings with arrows and captions in case nobody knew what was going on.

During the WB discussion, it was brought up that there was an arrow drawn in Box H. Our group signified that the arrows determined the direction of the object’s motion since you wouldn’t be able to tell from one frame. However, the arrow in Box H was a bit confusing since we also stated that the final state is when the block returned to the highest point. I liked the discussion that followed and we were able to change our model.

In the next round, we wrote down what objects were drawn. It was a little strange at first since we already drew and labeled our drawings, but the reason for it made sense after we had our discussion. Drawing the objects and saying WHY we drew those objects took us into defining SYSTEM. After the class got into multiple debates and post-it wars, we ended up with the definition: collection of parts/objects that we suspect to cause/help a “change in moment of time”. Yes, we used the words state and motion for a while, but we kept editing the definition as a class. I have to remember to do this with the 9th graders when I actually teach this.

THEN- we went on to discuss and define state vs. condition. I’m not 100% sure where we left off with this because I feel like we were stuck on non-important parts. I think at this point, I got lost in my own head and started thinking about snacks and what I wanted for lunch. It’s a good thing that we finally had our 10 minute break and the discussion didn’t go on much longer. I still have some questions about state vs. condition, but I don’t even know what those questions are yet.


We switched gears at this point and Melissa had us draw on paper. First she said that we should draw a circle. Then we started asking questions to get more clarity on this circle that she wanted us to draw. I can totally see how this is going to go down in the classroom. Eventually, when my brain got out of student mode, I figured out why we were doing this.

After determining what was important to know in order to draw the shape that was in Melissa’s head, we went into what the computer needs to know. We use Pyret as our programming language, which has a lot of similarities to Python with the perk that it’s pretty easy to use. I think I need to figure out a way to introduce these terms to the 9th graders: library, run, function, define, call, hashtag/comment, argument. We ran into these words, but didn’t really stop to talk about them. I suspect that since most of us are teachers and have had programming experience, we can gloss over them. I can see some students getting stuck and feeling intimidated with the words. Mostly, these are words that are used in the English language but in different ways. For example, argument in programming is not going to be the same argument students encounter on the playground. I’m sure I can utilize some of the #MERIT18 skills I learned to get those vocabulary words in.

The rest of the time, we spent playing around with the different functions. We were given a list of functions and we got to discuss some “I wonder what would happen if…” with each other. For this part, we were encouraged to do some pair-programming with one person doing the typing into Pyret and the other person working as the brain. This is a strategy I used in AP CSP, and I will definitely be using this in CMPF. I enjoyed my group and liked that no one was trying to take over (unless it was me…I might have been the one trying to take over). Our homework assignment was to draw flags using the functions that we played with in class. I’ve included a screenshot of my program after I ran it. I would include my code, but I really want students to figure out that part when we get there.

Obviously I had some issues drawing the sun for the Philippine flag.

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