We are now 3 lessons in to the kinematics unit in my grade 10 physics course. My final project is based on integrating Algodoo, a “physics simulation gaming engine” into a semester long physics course based on mechanics.
Originally, I had hoped to have all of the assignments planned out fully before copying the packet used during the course. I quickly got over this idea, realizing that I needed to be more flexible than having ink-on-paper weeks and weeks ahead of time. Instead, I’ve turned this into an opportunity to improve my Google docs skills, utilizing Doctopus as a way to push out documents, monitor progress, and view final products. It also makes grouping quite straightforward as well.
I’ve also decided to make at least the first assignment as working in pairs. I’m hoping this reduces distractions, as well as encouraging social learning.
You’ll notice that the assignment sounds relatively “game-like”. That was definitely intentional, as I am trying to leverage the fact that this program really does feel a bit like a game already. Most of the kids probably see right through this silly attempt to lure them in, but hey–would you rather “Complete Task 1” or “Beat Level 1”?
As is usual for my lesson plans, I’m anticipating that it will take much longer than I expect for my students to complete the task. I have allotted a bit less than one class period for this first assignment, though the students could (in theory) finish it at home. I think what I’ll need to do is be a bit flexible with the lesson after this, allowing additional time as needed. Since this is the first of a series of these assignments, I want to avoid rushing the students through. I’d rather allow the time it actually takes, rather than force it into the time I think it should take.