Teaching Physics in a Pandemic
(updated Aug 6)
Sorry it took so long, but I was putting this off until I had something better to share. Here are a few ideas. This can also be found on our new site www.AAPTFlorida.org. Good luck, take care, and let me know if we can do anything else to help. - Adam & the AAPT Florida team
- Rule 0: Ask how your students are doing. Let them know your first priority is their wellness, followed by mastery of your course content.
- Rule 1: Don't try to make your online-only course just a copy of your face-to-face course. Here's a quick list of do this, not that. Students don't need you to record the hour-long lecture you might normally give.
- Content resources:
- OpenStax textbook, Physics Classroom, and Khan Academy are high-quality and provide critical access for students who didn't purchase a textbook.
- Free access to PASCO materials: "Everything is free now, including videos with collected data to be used for analysis by our universities. Our books are free, the software is free, the videos are free, and folks can contact me if we can support them any further." - JP Keener firstname.lastname@example.org
- Doing labs at a distance:
- PhETs can be a great substitute for a traditional lab investigation. Every PhET page has a collection of lessons under “Teacher Resources”. Use the "screenshot" capability under the PhET menu button to have students capture their work.
- Physics Toolbox, PhyPhox, and Google Science Journal are mobile apps that display your phone's or tablet's sensor reading and let you export the raw data to analyze in a spreadsheet. They're each free and work well on iOS & Android devices. These three apps are quite similar and (so far) I haven't seen teachers generally prefer one over the others.
- Tracker is great (free) desktop software that analyzes the motion of objects in a video clip. Build in one or two activities for students to learn to use it, then watch them do amazing analyses of complex motion like shooting a basketball, a person doing a summersault, or two balls colliding.
- Pair programming is a technique CODE.org promotes to structure how two students work on a shared task using a driver-navigator model. It works great for remote students, too, even with a driver sharing their screen with two navigators.
- Upper-division labs: We're purchasing Arduino kits and direct-shipping to enrolled students. Or check out the scientific computing activities at vPython.org, Particle Physics Playground, and CODINGinK12.org.
- Reliable info on COVID-19: Your students may be similarly overwhelmed by information on COVID-19 from various sources, some less reliable than others. These are two of the best I've seen:
- Why Staying Home Now Can Save Lives from NPR.org.
- Fantastic visualization and article on how outbreaks spread from the Washington Post.
- More physics resources:
- Missouri Physics teacher and trending tweeter Joe Milliano has compiled lots of resources for putting your physics course online. Request access to his Google Drive here.
AAPT Florida Past-President