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Students as molecules

Keywords: Kinesthetic, Entropy


Highlights of the activity

  1. This kinesthetic activity is designed to help students understand and compute Gibbs entropy.
  2. Students randomly diffuse around the classroom and the whole class computes the entropy of the class at each step.
  3. The whole class discussion focuses on ensuring that students understand how the scenario is a good model for how Gibbs entropy works and that students know how to compute Gibbs entropy.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Entropy is a challenging concept, and both statistical formulations are tricky for students to understand. This activity helps students to grapple with two important concepts. One is that the entropy tends to increase to a maximum value due to random fluctuations, although not precisely monotonically. The second is how the Gibbs entropy of a system is computed.


Instructor's Guide

Authors: David Roundy
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