Dedra Demaree was hired to do introductory course reform, and is setting up a physics classroom to implement SCALE-UP.

Our implementation will be 2 hours of lecture, 2 of lab, and 2 of activity-based learning in a scale-up room, with the possible move to 4 hours of activity-based learning (no separate lab) in the future.

Our curricular reform is unique in that it is committee based, with multiple people from the department being involved with various levels of curricular choices, room design, and assessment decisions. A poster on this is attached: aapt_poster_july09.ppt

We are in the process (as of Aug 12th) of constructing the scale-up room, and making final furniture and technology decisions. Here are the basics:

Scale-up Activities/media needs:

  • Simulations – students would use simulations on the laptops at each group (pod) to explore and possibly answer questions.The questions could be delivered and answered via blackboard, or answered on whiteboards, or note paper.
  • Group problem solving – students would work on a large work space (shared whiteboard, at walls, starboards…) to work out a problem that is intensive
  • Worksheets – students do multiple short answer questions sequenced to help with an idea – these can be done on paper, on whiteboards, or on the computer (delivered and answered through blackboard)
  • Mini-labs – students would have some small equipment that they use for an investigation or to take data, they would record what they find on paper or whiteboards
  • Full-class discussions (see below)

Instructor/follow-up activities:

  • Take solutions from two student groups and display them around the room for a discussion on approaches, evaluation of the solutions, and making sure everyone leaves with understanding
  • Take simulation and display it around the room – whether to display something, or to show what students found from interacting with one
  • Have voting questions to test understanding – display questions around the room – this is simple with quizdom already in place
  • Share worksheet answers – either by displaying a ‘key’ or by displaying student work – this could in part be built into blackboard (it can display all submitted answers)
  • Show demonstration as lead-in or follow up, ask students to answer questions based on it
  • Desire to send something to students perhaps on the fly that they can work from – like a partial solution, or start of a force diagram, or full solution where students need to find the errors`

Other ‘needs’ of the technology

  • Need to facilitate ‘on the fly’ questions, discussions, and assessments
  • Need to facilitate display of information to all students at once
  • Need to facilitate collecting information from students, and sharing multiple responses to the class
  • Need to help students have access to/take home good/correct notes/examples/solutions


  • What do we want students to write individually?
  • Maybe this is the same question as what do we want them to take home in their notes?
  • What do we want students to write on whiteboards?
  • Do we care if whiteboard info isn’t captured forever?(starboards can be captured as can the one at the camera, but only one camera)
  • What do we want students to submit online for easy/automatic grading?
  • Do we want students to use voting systems?For individual or group assessment?Graded/ungraded?

We have a 'low-friction' track down the middle of the floor for things like skateboarding/rollerblading demos, and kinesthetic experiences. The rest of the room will be carpeted for sound quality.

Here is a sample outline of how we envision seeing the curriculum play out in the 2/2/2 format (lecture, lab, and scale-up):

Outline for 1st chapter of Newton's laws:

Lecture 1

  • ISLE observation experiment to motivate 1st and 2nd law
  • Motivating ideas that forces are interactions, and that we care about net force
  • Brainstorming types of forces, including molecular bonds as ‘springy’
  • Notations for forces – why 2 subscript label
  • Representations of forces – force and free body diagrams
  • Voting questions on representations
  • Solve a problem that relates a motion diagram to a force diagram with 2nd law, preferably a motion that they have previously analyzed graphically/with motion diagrams


  • Representational activities that motivate understanding the 2nd law
  • Bridging questions that lead to understanding of the normal force, add something at an angle and at an angle with a push force to discuss how normal force depends on all forces perp. to surface.
  • Physically play with different types of forces, especially springs
  • Practice drawing free-body diagrams
  • Activity to work on classifying different types of forces
  • Practice setting up context-rich problems
  • Practice finding the net force from diagrams – vector practice!!

2nd lecture

  • Observation/testing experiments for reference frames
  • Discussion of reference frames/inertial frames
  • Turning car problem – fictitious forces
  • Inertial mass
  • Voting questions – practice with proportional reasoning
  • “Life” examples like how muscles can constrict, and possibly moving from a microscopic to macroscopic perspective


  • I would want a lab that tested newton’s 1st/2nd laws, maybe tied to kinematics, or allowed them to predict some tricky situation using diagrams (like the falling ball example)

Outline for 2nd chapter (going quantitative with 2nd law, goals include coordinate system issues and tying to kinematics, and continual work on representations and problem solving skills):

Lecture 1

  • ISLE cycle to enforce net force and quantitative relation between force and mass
  • Voting questions where their force diagrams and relation to acceleration had to be consistent
  • Brief spring scale activity to discuss weight and normal force (quantitative since they did qualitative in scale-up the previous week)
  • Voting question to make prediction on experiment to test understanding of ‘apparent’ weight
  • ISLE observation experiments for friction – ask students to come up with the mathematical model
  • Test the model via a small experiment that can be tied to quantitative problem solving


  • Practice finding net force as related to acceleration graphically
  • Testing question of 2nd law understanding
  • Two real-world problems with explicit problem-solving setup practice
  • “the blimp story” for reasoning with the 2nd law
  • Context-rich problems with 2nd law and kinematics”

2nd lecture

  • Further discussion of friction details: static, kinetic (quantitative), rolling, molecular model
  • Limits to normal force and static friction – limit of object to ‘react’, when things ‘break’
  • Voting questions to test friction understanding
  • Harder examples: pig sliding down slide with and without friction
  • Harder examples: force diagram where it’s tricky to realize direction of friction force
  • Discussion of all ‘contact’ forces being N and f
  • Drag

Lab I’m inclined to agree, and time for cart to go up ramp with friction pad

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