This is my second activity proposal for my EDUC5105 class.
I would like to create a lesson aimed at teenagers that instills knowledge on physics/engineering. As such, I’d love to utilize KerbalEdu to achieve this.
With KerbalEdu, the students will be able to have a “hands-on” approach to seeing the effects of physics on their engineered creations. They’ll be able to design, re-design, and share their creations, all whilst critiquing eachother in how they could make their designs more efficient. We’ll also compare their designs to real-world designs, and study how physics affected those vehicles by recreating them within the program.
To successfully share and critique the designs, we’ll utilize a Moodle installation (found here) that will allow students to post screenshots of the ships they have built, include the various data elements they have collected, etc.
Each user will be given a blog within Moodle, which they will continue to update throughout the year. Each week, we’ll sit down as a group and go over the most successful ships, and the least successful. This will allow us to examine what engineering attributes created beneficial flight physics, and it will also allow us to determine which physics created detrimental flight physics. This process will be ongoing throughout the semester, and will incorporate lessons on various physics principles.
Meaningful: As stated by Sohanty and Cantu, games allow us to ” explore the concept of paths in three-dimensional space” (p. 3), “explore the consequences of Newton’s laws” (p.4.), and explore the idea that “force vector applied at different points of an extended body can result in different rotational motion” (p. 7). By allowing the students to build and interact with spaceships that display these physical properties, we can create a lesson that does not “does not lead to boredom and frustration” (Allen, 2007 p. 138).
Motivational: As stated by Sohanty and Cantue, students will eventually begin to notice these effects of physics outside the classroom in their own games, and they even had some students bring in their own games to demonstrate. Thus, “games allow this kind of self-motivated learning to continue outside the classroom” (Sohanty and Cantue, 200x, p. 8). This motivation is caused by the fact that you need to have an appealing context, and the use of graphics, sound, animation etc. help in that (Allen, 2007, p.180). Kerbal Space Program also meets Allen’s notion that “successful video games demonstrate that motivation can be sustained over long periods of time” (p. 181). If true, it is something I would like to continue in the classroom.
Memorable: By combining the lessons and analysis of spacecraft with the actual construction of spacecraft within Kerbal Space Program, I hope that we can implement success-based learning. By having the students apply the knowledge gained from the lessons, we can have them build relationships between the new information and the game itself. The process of creating spaceships will all the students to recall and apply that new information in a way that enforces retention (Allen, 2007, p.160).
Allen, M. (2007). Designing successful e-learning forget what you know about instructional design and do something interesting. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
Mohanty, S., & Cantu, S. (2011). Teaching introductory undergraduate physics using commercial video games. Physics Education Phys. Educ.,570-577. doi:10.1088/0031-9120/46/5/009