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Abstract Title: Fostering Computational Thinking
Abstract: Computation (the use of the computer to solve numerically, to simulate, or to visualize a physical problem) has revolutionized scientific research and engineering practice. However, computation is virtually ignored in most introductory college courses.

In this targeted session, we present an overview of efforts to introduce computation undertaken in both high school and large enrollment university mechanics courses. Several key questions are highlighted for discussion. How can computation be introduced into courses that have a wide variety of student skill levels? How can students' abilities to use computer modeling be evaluated? What challenges do students face when developing a computer model? What is the role of epistemology for students who are learning this new tool?
Abstract Type: Poster Gallery Session

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Marcos D Caballero
Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Physics
837 State St
Atlanta, GA 30332
Co-Author(s)
and Co-Presenter(s)
John B. Burk (Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA)
Matthew A. Kohlmyer (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC)
Michael F. Schatz (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA)

Poster Gallery Session Specific Information

Poster 1 Title: Computer Modeling Homework in Introductory Mechanics
Poster 1 Authors: Michael F. Schatz (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA)
Marcos D Caballero (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA)
John B. Burk (Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA)
Matthew A. Kohlmyer (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC)
Poster 1 Abstract: Introductory physics courses typically fail to provide students with significant opportunities to use a computer to solve science and engineering problems. We present an overview of recent work to develop laboratory and homework exercises on numerical modeling, simulation, and visualization for students in introductory mechanics in both high school and large enrollment university courses.
Poster 2 Title: Measurements of Students' Performance on Computational Exercises in Introductory Mechanics
Poster 2 Authors: Marcos D Caballero (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA)
Matthew A. Kohlmyer (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC)
Michael F. Schatz (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA)
Poster 2 Abstract: The impact of laboratory and homework exercises on the development of computational thinking is evaluated using a proctored end-of-course computational exercise. We present the motivation for and development of this proctored assignment, an analysis of erroneous student code, and the implications for teaching computation to introductory physics students.
Poster 3 Title: Working with Computational Anxiety: Assessing Student Affect in Learning Computation in Introductory Mechanics
Poster 3 Authors: Matthew A. Kohlmyer (North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC)
Marcos D Caballero (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA)
Michael F. Schatz (Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA)
Poster 3 Abstract: An introductory physics course at Georgia Tech requires students learn numerical computation for describing physical phenomenon that are not amenable to being solved using analytic methods. Students' motivation to learn computation and anxiety about solving computational exercises varies greatly. The attitudes, interests, and values that students exhibit when learning a subject can play a role in their motivation to and anxiety about learning the subject. We present a brief overview of the development of a new tool, the Computation Modeling in Physics Attitudinal Student Survey (COMPASS), aimed at helping to characterize students' attitudes about, interests in, and values concerning computation as well as preliminary measurements derived from this instrument.