Sugar Labs @ NDSU

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Playing with Physics


Our Sugar Labs team will be heading back to Madison Elementary on January 24th–a 7 week schedule with emphasis on Physics and Etoys.  We didn’t use Physics last year, during our pilot, so we are breaking new ground this time around.  We haven’t found curriculum guides, so we are just going on intuition and 20+ years of teaching experience. We want to gamify the process a bit, so we are going to try this:

Level 1.

Start physics and name the activity level one before doing anything else. Then simply try out most of the tools. Draw 3 lines: one straight, one with a single bend, one with two bends. Then draw circles, squares, triangles in S, M, and L sizes. Finally, draw a pentagon, hexagon, and heptagon (or just funny shapes with multiple sides.  Try to keep all the objects on the screen. When you have completed level one, raise your hand and we will note your accomplishment on the game board.  Then, on your computer, go back to home, open Write and name this activity “Physics Notes.”  Write what you did, learned, and liked about Physics so far.

Level Two

Go back to Home again after writing in your journal, and click on Physics, but try not to launch your existing project. Get the drop down menu that gives you a chance to “Start New”.  Start a new Physics module and call this activity “Level Two.”  The goal this time is to make teeter-totters. One challenge is to make it with as few objects as possible (only two is very hard), and one is to make it with 10 objects, any configuration that you like.  When you have completed level two, raise your hand and we will note your accomplishment on the game board.  Then, on your computer, go back to home, open the Write Activity called “Physics Journal,” and name this activity “Physics Notes.”  Write what you did, learned, and liked about Physics in level two.

We think those two levels can be covered on day one; we’ll sketch the other two days ASAP but would love to see or hear about other approaches to Physics.

5 comments on “Playing with Physics

  1. Bob Braxton
    January 19, 2012

    These two sketches sound like a whole lot of fun!

    • Chris Lindgren
      January 25, 2012

      Hi, Bob! We conducted levels 1 & 2 today, and I think it was a hit. We all had quite a bit of fun tinkering in physics.🙂

  2. Nick Doiron
    January 21, 2012

    A couple of possible activities:

    * The source for Physics includes a ‘roll’ tool which I find more interesting than the fixed-rotation ‘rotate’ tool. It’s only a matter of finding and uncommenting it.

    * Bridge game from http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4231 , which can be expanded to have sensors be part of the gameplay: http://mapadelsur.blogspot.com/2011/11/flower-bridge-neat-hacktivity.html

    • Chris Lindgren
      January 25, 2012

      Nick, this activity looks fantastic! I’ll also have to check out the “Roll” tool. Thanks for the tips!

      FYI–I just posted our Level 1 & 2 Physics lesson plans on the “Syllabus” page.

  3. Walter Bender
    January 26, 2012

    You should consider trying the Turtle Art plugin for Physics. It lets you create precision machines, including gears. See http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Activities/TurtleArt#Physics

    Have fun.

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This entry was posted on January 19, 2012 by in pedagogy, Physics.

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