June 24-26, 2004 (Thurs.-Sat.)

Project-Based PhysicsWorkshop: Linking Physics Instruction with Students' Prior Learning and with their Future Careers

at Lee College in Baytown, Texas


This workshop will be led by Fred Thomas (Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH), David Weaver (Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa, AZ), Thomas O'Kuma from Lee College, and Curtis Hieggelke from Joliet Junior College with Thomas O'Kuma as the local host at Lee College in Baytown, TX

One of the Physics Workshops for the 21st Century.

(supported in part by a grant from the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) by the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF))

 Participant List (pdf or html)

 Participant Travel List (Arrival and Departure)

 Participant Hotel List (pdf)

 Workshop Schedule (pdf or html)

 Pre-Workshop Information - you will be receiving these and more in the mail-

Stuff you might want to bring from Fred Thomas

Each participant will build and keep a motor controller that can run either 4 hobby servo motors or 1 stepper motor. The RC controller can be operated by either a computer (using Logger Pro from Vernier Software & Technology or National Instrument's LabVIEW) or by a TI calculator.

If you or your students use TI calculators (TI-73, TI-83, TI-83 plus, TI-83 silver edition, or TI-86), bring one along so you can load the programs.

The controller will work with many 4-function (forward, reverse, left, right), 29-MHz vehicles. New Bright brand is one that is readily available in many stores and works well. Different brands may use different codes and may or may not work, even if they use the same carrier frequency of 29-MHz. The most useful vehicles are generally the slower ones, especially bulldozers and others that pivot. There are also submarines, mice and other types of vehicles that work well.

The hobby servo motors are available in many hobby stores or online from companies such as Tower Hobbies at www.towerhobbies.com. One of many servo models that works well is the Futaba S3003, selling for about $11.

Stepper motors for the controller must be "unipolar," and can be recognized by the fact that they have either 5 or 6 wires. Many are available from companies such as Jameco (www.jameco.com), from surplus dealers, or for free by taking apart an old disk drive. The stepper motor should be rated for a voltage between 6 and 24 V (we prefer 12 V motors) and a current of no more than 0.3 A per phase.

We'll have motors of both types and vehicles available for use during the workshop, but you may also want to bring one or 2 of your own, especially if you have a specific project in mind.

There are now step-by-step, illustrated instructions for building the Motor Controller on the web at http://www.mathmachines.net/construction/MotorController/MCStep00.htm A shorter print version will be used for the workshop, but thought you might want to look through the web version to see what's ahead.

More details about control systems for classroom use can be found at www.mathmachines.net.

Viewing/Reading Materials from David Weaver

"Why PBL?" (pdf) by Donald R. Woods from "Problem-based Learning: helping your students gain the most from PBL" 3rd edition, March 1996 Instructor's Guide for "Problem-based Learning: how to gain the most from PBL" ISBN 0-9698725-0-X © copyright 1996.

Some of the PBL goings on in Maricopa can be found at http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/pbl/index.html

Diana Oblinger was our main speaker at a retreat. This is a link to some related readings we were to do. She talked about PBL as being one of the ways to engage the Net generation. Her testimony to the senate is a good read at http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/ocotillo/retreat04/readings.php

David Weaver's electronic portfolio at http://eport2.cgc.maricopa.edu/published/w/ea/weaver/home/1/index.shtml

McMaster's is the birthplace of PBL with resources at http://chemeng.mcmaster.ca/pbl/pbl.htm

University of Delaware's PBL web site at http://www.udel.edu/pbl/ which has a link to the PBL Clearinghouse and other links

 Maps - Lee College

 Hotel Information - The Hampton Inn in Baytown (281) 421-1234

 Workshop Leaders:

Fred Thomas (Physics Department, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH) bio and picture

David Weaver (Science and Math Division, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Mesa, AZ) bio, web site, and picture

Tom O'Kuma, Lee College, bio; and

Curtis Hieggelke, Joliet Junior College, bio

  David Weaver's Very Large Contexts (VLC) in Physics

 Fred Thomas' Math Machines - Connecting Math, Science, and Technology web site at http://mathmachines.net/

 Forms and Workshop Information

Workshop description (pdf or html).

HS Teachers Travel Reimbursement Form

Stipend Criteria (pdf or html) and Request Form

Acknowledgement Information

 Vernier Software & Technology

 Ranking Task Exercises in Physics: Student Edition by Thomas O'Kuma, David Maloney, and Curtis Hieggelke (new in 2004 and published by Prentice Hall as part of the Series in Educational Innovation)


 Links to education research related papers

Mestre, J.P. "Cognitive aspects of learning and teaching science."  In S.J. Fitzsimmons & L.C. Kerpelman (Eds.), Teacher Enhancement for Elementary and Secondary Science and Mathematics: Status, Issues and Problems (pp. 3-1 - 3-53).  Washington, D.C.: National Science Foundation (NSF 94-80).

Johnson, A. "The Computer Display as a Support of Collaborative Development of Scientific Models of Magnetism," presented at the CSCL '99 - Computer Support for Collaborative Learning, Palo Alto, CA.(1999)

McDermott, L.C.  "How we teach and how students learn--A mismatch?".  American Journal of Physics, 61, 295-298 (1993).

Ted Schultz. "Science Education Through the Eyes of a Physicist". National Academy of Sciences (2001)

Edward F. Redish and Richard N. Steinberg, "Teaching Physics: Figuring Out What Works," Physics Today, Vol. 52 (January 1999), pp. 24-30. 

Edward F. Redish, "Millikan Award Lecture (1998): Building a Science of Teaching Physics," Am. J. Phys. 67 (7) 562-573 (1999).

E. F. Redish, "Are Computers Appropriate for Teaching Physics," Comp. Phys. 7, 613 (Nov/Dec 1993). 

Millar, S.B. (2001). "How Do You Measure Success? Lessons on Assessment and Evaluation from the LEAD Center." Syllabus Vol. 14 No. 7, 11-13. The article includes a full page "case" from LT2 - featuring Curt Hieggelke's courses at Joliet Junior College.

Head of the Class: How teachers learn technology best (Electronic School, January 2001) Professional development programs should focus not on software tools like spreadsheets and word-processors, but on teaching and learning strategies that make a difference in daily practice and that translate into stronger student performance.

 Workshop Links

Skills For a New Century: A Blueprint for Lifelong Learning, outlines the leadership group's vision, recommendations and initial commitments to help American businesses findmore skilled workers and to help all adult Americans acquire the skillsthey need to succeed in a changing economy.

Illinois Skill Standards. A project funded by the Illinois State Board of Education. Supported by partner agencies and administered by the Department of Workforce Education and Development SIUC

National Skill Standards Board The mission of the National Skill Standards Board is to encourage the creation and adoption of a national system of skill standards which will enhance the ability of the United States to compete effectively in a global economy. These voluntary skill standards will be developed by industry in full partnership with education, labor and community stakeholders, and will be flexible, portable and continuously updated and improved.

Washington State Skill Standards. This site is designed to provide information about Washington's Skill Standards projects, link industry partners with schools and colleges, inform individuals about Skill Standards, and link Washington with national efforts

STANDARDS FOR THE Ph.D. DEGREE IN THE MOLECULAR BIOSCIENCES, Recommendations of the Committee on Education of The International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Oct. 1999)

Vernier Software & Technology which provides low cost education software and lab technology such as computer interfaces. They celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2001. They support the workshops by the optional daily post-workshop discussion sessions for all the workshops in addition to supporting this workshop with workshop leaders and equipment.

 Other resources

American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) also offers outstanding physics education resources and materials. It is the "must-join" professional organization for all physics teachers. Tom O'Kuma was the first two-year college teacher who was elected and served as president of it.

Syllabus Magazine: Syllabus Magazine, read by more than 300,000 educators worldwide, includes feature articles, case studies, product reviews, and profiles of technology use at the instructor, departmental, and institutional levels. Complimentary subscriptions in the US are available for individuals who work in colleges, universities, and high schools.

The Learning Through Technology (LT2) web site was constructed as a resource for Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (SMET) instructors. The site features information designed to provide knowledge on technologies in use, and how this technology can impact and enhance student learning. We focused on technologies with a preference for those that were student-centered, and where the use of this technology had a clear and measurable effect on learning. Joliet Junior College is one of the featured case studies.



the Project Co-Directors

Joliet Junior College,
Joliet, IL
(815)280 2371

Tom O'Kuma,
Lee College,
Baytown, TX
(281) 425-6522