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Abstract Title: What is the Goal of Introducing Computation Into High School Physics and Physical Science?
Abstract: There is a growing interest in incorporating programming into high school physics and physical science classes. As more projects are developed to meet this need, an important question is, "What are the goals of integrating programming at this level?" Is it sufficient to introduce coding just to raise student familiarity with computer science? Is the goal to make physics instruction more effective through coding? Or is the main goal to emphasize computational thinking as a kind of new learning objective, where programming is simply a means to that end? What are the opportunities for improving upon the current state of physics instruction? Answers to these questions can help to frame physics education research on student experiences with coding at this level, which is a research area that is still in its infancy.

This session will highlight a few different groups working to integrate coding at this level: (1) a STEM+C funded partnership between AAPT, AMTA, and Bootstrap, (2) the STEMcoding project (go.osu.edu/STEMtube) which is led by Prof. Chris Orban (Ohio State U) and Prof. Richelle Teeling-Smith (Univ. of Mt. Union), (3) Tychos.org which is led by Bay-area physics teacher Steve Temple, and (4) a popular code, vpython, which some teachers have customized for high school level purposes. Each of these groups will give a brief presentation and talk about their goals and motivation and how their work conforms to those goals.

Following this, participants will discuss at round tables: (1) Which of the various goals and motivations discussed in the presentations connects most closely to your opinion of where courses at this level need to improve? and (2) What questions should education researchers focus on as they conduct studies on coding in high school physics and physical science? Finally, each table will summarize their discussions to the wider group.
Abstract Type: Discussion Symposium
Session Time: Parallel Sessions Cluster III
Room: Meeting Room 2

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Rebecca Vieyra
American Association of Physics Teachers
and Co-Presenter(s)
Moderator/Discussant: D. Weintrop
Presenters: C. Megowan-Romanowicz, C. Orban, R. Teeling-Smith, S. Temple, R. Vieyra