• "Testing" strategies

    From Don Y@21:1/5 to All on Tue Mar 1 21:02:08 2022
    I have to develop a curriculum for a (non-credit) high-school STEM class.

    I'm trying to decide how much hand-holding is appropriate vs. "unaided discovery".

    For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let
    them explore it and help them develop solutions. Then, challenge those solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed
    by their previously developed solutions.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    In this case, any "testing" would simply be regurgitating one of the
    many scenarios explored during the class to see how well it is recognized
    and whether or not the "correct" solution is forthcoming.

    A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test* material
    to see if they: recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and
    see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly.

    This seems like it would lead to a more lasting impression and reinforce
    "how to learn" (instead of "how to remember what you've been taught").
    But, I'm afraid it may be overly harsh on too many students given the conditions typically encountered for testing.

    ISTR the latter being how much of my later education was based -- though
    the earlier years were more "regurgitation".

    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?

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  • From Tom Biasi@21:1/5 to Don Y on Tue Mar 1 23:30:01 2022
    On 3/1/2022 11:02 PM, Don Y wrote:
    I have to develop a curriculum for a (non-credit) high-school STEM class.

    I'm trying to decide how much hand-holding is appropriate vs. "unaided discovery".

    For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let
    them explore it and help them develop solutions.  Then, challenge those solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed
    by their previously developed solutions.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    In this case, any "testing" would simply be regurgitating one of the
    many scenarios explored during the class to see how well it is recognized
    and whether or not the "correct" solution is forthcoming.

    A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test* material
    to see if they:  recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and
    see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly.

    This seems like it would lead to a more lasting impression and reinforce
    "how to learn" (instead of "how to remember what you've been taught").
    But, I'm afraid it may be overly harsh on too many students given the conditions typically encountered for testing.

    ISTR the latter being how much of my later education was based -- though
    the earlier years were more "regurgitation".

    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?
    I would always encourage critical thinking as long as they have the
    proper tools to accomplish. When would one expect kids to be able to
    think for themselves? As far as I am concerned; at birth.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Tom Biasi on Tue Mar 1 23:37:22 2022
    On 3/1/2022 9:30 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?

    I would always encourage critical thinking as long as they have the proper tools to accomplish. When would one expect kids to be able to think for themselves? As far as I am concerned; at birth.

    I think a lot depends on "motivation".

    E.g., I'd give good odds that a *toddler* could figure out how
    to get into the "cookie jar". OTOH, put a bar of SOAP (for
    "bath time") there and it will likely remain unchallenged!

    If thinking for themselves was so commonplace, one would
    expect all students to do well in all fields -- as there
    is an incentive ("good grades") to doing so.

    So, I see a big part of the problem as being one of generating
    "buzz"... motivation to make them WANT to figure out the problems
    laid out for them. Putting *cookies* in the jar instead of
    bars of soap! The flip side is avoiding confrontations
    that they might see as "discouraging".

    I.e., "tests" -- with "grades" -- will likely do more harm than
    good. So, need to be designed to reinforce their grasp of the
    material and not try to trip them up (even if that's only just a
    perception).

    As this is not-for-credit, they have to *want* to return.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Martin Brown@21:1/5 to Don Y on Wed Mar 2 10:55:51 2022
    On 02/03/2022 04:02, Don Y wrote:
    I have to develop a curriculum for a (non-credit) high-school STEM class.

    I'm trying to decide how much hand-holding is appropriate vs. "unaided discovery".

    You might want to take a look at the UK's Nuffield syllabus which went
    down this road in the mid 1970's. My experience of it was that in
    Chemistry at least it was positively dangerous bordering on lethal.

    If you are good at the subject it really doesn't make much difference
    but if you are not too bright discovery quickly becomes "accident".

    The scariest one was when halide and halate salts were the subject and
    one non-too-bright student combined nearly 10g of sodium chlorate with
    conc sulphuric acid in a test tube. I still recall white hot pieces of
    the stuff flying out of the tube as he turned round with it. It was
    supposed to have been 1g of NaCl and a few drops of conc sulphuric.

    It was suicidal to have both reagents out on the bench at once with
    beginners around.

    I got to make PCl3/PCl5 on the open lab bench in the same course from
    white phosphorus. The other team doing that had their kit explode in the
    fume cupboard releasing noxious vapours that were only just contained!

    There was another even more lethal practical on eutectic solvent
    mixtures that could sometimes form an explosive organic peroxide if left
    in sunshine over a weekend part way through. It would then detonate when
    the practical resumed on the Monday morning.

    Nuffield syllabus is still going and the survivors of that early
    experiment are now teachers, lecturers and engineers. I expect by now
    all the truly dangerous experiments have been weeded out.

    https://www.stem.org.uk/elibrary/collection/3237

    For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let
    them explore it and help them develop solutions.  Then, challenge those solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed
    by their previously developed solutions.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    In this case, any "testing" would simply be regurgitating one of the
    many scenarios explored during the class to see how well it is recognized
    and whether or not the "correct" solution is forthcoming.

    A quick one that will find the very brightest is draw an ellipse using
    only a piece of string and two pins. For physics and engineering things involving pendulums are not a bad choice with little scope for damage.

    A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test* material
    to see if they:  recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and
    see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly.

    This seems like it would lead to a more lasting impression and reinforce
    "how to learn" (instead of "how to remember what you've been taught").
    But, I'm afraid it may be overly harsh on too many students given the conditions typically encountered for testing.

    ISTR the latter being how much of my later education was based -- though
    the earlier years were more "regurgitation".

    The transition between learning by just remembering stuff and having to
    really think out the right answer is quite a tricky one. I know one
    genius class individual at school who failed to make the transition to university successfully. I still don't understand why. She was in
    addition a gifted musician as well as being (very) good at the sciences.

    There was a BBC Horizon? programme "Genius" in the 1990's which includes
    her demise as one of their case studies. Some individuals have an innate ability to remember pretty much anything that interests them.

    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?

    Some people never seem to master that skill.


    --
    Regards,
    Martin Brown

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  • From Rich S@21:1/5 to Martin Brown on Wed Mar 2 06:41:32 2022
    On Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at 10:56:06 AM UTC, Martin Brown wrote:
    On 02/03/2022 04:02, Don Y wrote:
    I have to develop a curriculum for a (non-credit) high-school STEM class.

    I'm trying to decide how much hand-holding is appropriate vs. "unaided discovery".


    There was a BBC Horizon? programme "Genius" in the 1990's which includes
    her demise as one of their case studies. Some individuals have an innate ability to remember pretty much anything that interests them.

    That was a great programme.

    To teach high-school STEM, I presume we are not required to take safety risks. I can't think of acids or noxious gasses. The power supplies can
    be voltage & current limited; the power demands kept modest.
    Stored energy release can be controlled. But I concede, if there's
    some way to overload or overextend something, some enterprising
    fool hardy youth will find it. So teaching safety should be part of the
    course.

    Re syllabus, One aspect is the adaptability. I recall my 7th-grade
    math class. It was modular and 100% self paced. Each student
    worked independently thru each module (basic algebra, etc.).
    The teacher was there, as 1-on-1 coach, as needed.
    May not work for entirely disinterested student, but then, they
    wouldn't be forced into a STEM class, would they?

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Rich S@21:1/5 to Rich S on Wed Mar 2 06:47:18 2022
    On Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at 2:41:39 PM UTC, Rich S wrote:
    On Wednesday, March 2, 2022 at 10:56:06 AM UTC, Martin Brown wrote:
    On 02/03/2022 04:02, Don Y wrote:
    I have to develop a curriculum for a (non-credit) high-school STEM class.

    I'm trying to decide how much hand-holding is appropriate vs. "unaided discovery".
    There was a BBC Horizon? programme "Genius" in the 1990's which includes her demise as one of their case studies. Some individuals have an innate ability to remember pretty much anything that interests them.
    That was a great programme.

    To teach high-school STEM, I presume we are not required to take safety risks.
    I can't think of acids or noxious gasses. The power supplies can
    be voltage & current limited; the power demands kept modest.
    Stored energy release can be controlled. But I concede, if there's
    some way to overload or overextend something, some enterprising
    fool hardy youth will find it. So teaching safety should be part of the course.

    Re syllabus, One aspect is the adaptability. I recall my 7th-grade
    math class. It was modular and 100% self paced. Each student
    worked independently thru each module (basic algebra, etc.).
    The teacher was there, as 1-on-1 coach, as needed.
    May not work for entirely disinterested student, but then, they
    wouldn't be forced into a STEM class, would they?

    And another option is STE(A)M, add the Art component.
    Some artistic types I knew were terrible at math.
    But maybe, giving them such a mix would've found an entre' for math,
    science, etc. Many maker faires are also
    arts & crafts shows. The creative mind encompasses all.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Rich S on Wed Mar 2 15:38:06 2022
    On 3/2/2022 7:41 AM, Rich S wrote:
    Re syllabus, One aspect is the adaptability. I recall my 7th-grade
    math class. It was modular and 100% self paced. Each student
    worked independently thru each module (basic algebra, etc.).
    The teacher was there, as 1-on-1 coach, as needed.

    The curriculum isn't linear. "Classes" expose students to ideas,
    challenges, etc. Each pursues the material at their own level
    of interest -- and, hopefully, brings that *back* to share with
    their classmates.

    May not work for entirely disinterested student, but then, they
    wouldn't be forced into a STEM class, would they?

    Exactly. The fear is that "superstars" can intimidate the less
    capable (though interested) others.

    There's a robotics club, here. The "advisor" largely drives the
    design of their robot (there is a national competition) with
    input from the kids. They all feel a part of the result -- but
    have different levels of participation/contribution.

    If the ideas of the "superstars" are the only ones that make it
    into *the* (robot's) design, then those others have a hard time
    seeing how they contributed to the result.

    While the "team" concept might be valuable to instill in them
    (for use later in life), it's important to also foster faith
    in their *own* abilities -- as they will eventually be employed
    as *individuals* (even if they eventually serve on teams).
    Let them see the products of their peers as inspiration
    (not intimidation).

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Martin Brown on Wed Mar 2 15:28:44 2022
    On 3/2/2022 3:55 AM, Martin Brown wrote:
    On 02/03/2022 04:02, Don Y wrote:

    I'm trying to decide how much hand-holding is appropriate vs. "unaided
    discovery".

    If you are good at the subject it really doesn't make much difference but if you are not too bright discovery quickly becomes "accident".

    How they "get there" isn't important -- *if* they learn, in the process.

    For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let
    them explore it and help them develop solutions. Then, challenge those
    solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed
    by their previously developed solutions.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    In this case, any "testing" would simply be regurgitating one of the
    many scenarios explored during the class to see how well it is recognized
    and whether or not the "correct" solution is forthcoming.

    A quick one that will find the very brightest is draw an ellipse using only a piece of string and two pins. For physics and engineering things involving pendulums are not a bad choice with little scope for damage.

    I quote "testing" as the intent isn't to quantify their knowledge but,
    rather, to coerce them into applying it. I think if you just push
    information AT them and never put them in a position to "think for
    themselves", they don't embrace the material taught.

    And, I think putting a "number" (score) on a "test" sends the wrong
    message. You want them to understand what they've "missed" and not
    make them feel like they failed.

    A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test* material >> to see if they: recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and
    see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly.

    This seems like it would lead to a more lasting impression and reinforce
    "how to learn" (instead of "how to remember what you've been taught").
    But, I'm afraid it may be overly harsh on too many students given the
    conditions typically encountered for testing.

    ISTR the latter being how much of my later education was based -- though
    the earlier years were more "regurgitation".

    The transition between learning by just remembering stuff and having to really
    think out the right answer is quite a tricky one.

    Yes -- hence the question.

    The point of the "class" is to spark an interest in STEM... to show them
    that these are *tools* that can be used to solve real problems. (unlike "History" which only bears fruit later in life)

    [I can recall stumbling on the notion of "similar triangles" when I
    was a youngster -- before it had a *name* (trig) -- and the sorts
    of things that it allowed me to do that would, otherwise, have been
    effectively impossible: "How tall is that oak tree? If it was
    to fall/be felled, what might it fall *onto*?"]

    You measure the success of the *class* ("program"), not the success
    ("test scores") of the students! I.e., "Is this a good way to increase interest in STEM?"

    A participant who may not have a great skill set can still be a
    "successful result" if his/her attitude towards STEM is enhanced
    by the experience.

    I know one genius class
    individual at school who failed to make the transition to university successfully. I still don't understand why. She was in addition a gifted musician as well as being (very) good at the sciences.

    I met an "idiot savant" whose skill was arithmetic. He could do
    math in his head *instantly*. But, needed a constant companion to
    navigate the simple tasks in "life".

    There was a BBC Horizon? programme "Genius" in the 1990's which includes her demise as one of their case studies. Some individuals have an innate ability to
    remember pretty much anything that interests them.

    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?

    Some people never seem to master that skill.

    For them, we have knitting, needlepoint, basket-weaving, etc.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
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  • From Tom Biasi@21:1/5 to Don Y on Wed Mar 2 20:45:32 2022
    On 3/2/2022 1:37 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/1/2022 9:30 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?

    I would always encourage critical thinking as long as they have the
    proper tools to accomplish. When would one expect kids to be able to
    think for themselves? As far as I am concerned; at birth.

    I think a lot depends on "motivation".

    E.g., I'd give good odds that a *toddler* could figure out how
    to get into the "cookie jar".  OTOH, put a bar of SOAP (for
    "bath time") there and it will likely remain unchallenged!

    If thinking for themselves was so commonplace, one would
    expect all students to do well in all fields -- as there
    is an incentive ("good grades") to doing so.

    So, I see a big part of the problem as being one of generating
    "buzz"... motivation to make them WANT to figure out the problems
    laid out for them.  Putting *cookies* in the jar instead of
    bars of soap!  The flip side is avoiding confrontations
    that they might see as "discouraging".

    I.e., "tests" -- with "grades" -- will likely do more harm than
    good.  So, need to be designed to reinforce their grasp of the
    material and not try to trip them up (even if that's only just a
    perception).

    As this is not-for-credit, they have to *want* to return.
    If they are not thinking for themselves who is thinking for them?
    I'm not saying who forces their actions.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Tom Biasi on Wed Mar 2 19:04:04 2022
    On 3/2/2022 6:45 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    On 3/2/2022 1:37 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/1/2022 9:30 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?

    I would always encourage critical thinking as long as they have the proper >>> tools to accomplish. When would one expect kids to be able to think for
    themselves? As far as I am concerned; at birth.

    I think a lot depends on "motivation".

    E.g., I'd give good odds that a *toddler* could figure out how
    to get into the "cookie jar". OTOH, put a bar of SOAP (for
    "bath time") there and it will likely remain unchallenged!

    If thinking for themselves was so commonplace, one would
    expect all students to do well in all fields -- as there
    is an incentive ("good grades") to doing so.

    So, I see a big part of the problem as being one of generating
    "buzz"... motivation to make them WANT to figure out the problems
    laid out for them. Putting *cookies* in the jar instead of
    bars of soap! The flip side is avoiding confrontations
    that they might see as "discouraging".

    I.e., "tests" -- with "grades" -- will likely do more harm than
    good. So, need to be designed to reinforce their grasp of the
    material and not try to trip them up (even if that's only just a
    perception).

    As this is not-for-credit, they have to *want* to return.
    If they are not thinking for themselves who is thinking for them?
    I'm not saying who forces their actions.

    That was the point of the question.

    "For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let
    them explore it and help them develop solutions. Then, challenge those
    solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed
    by their previously developed solutions."

    This would be an interaction between their minds and the instructors'.
    But, primarily the instructors *guiding* their thinking. They are
    never in a "responsible" position as the instructors have to keep
    the course moving, despite any real engagement from the *whole* of
    the class.

    By contrast:

    "A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test* material
    to see if they: recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and
    see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly."

    leaves them largely on their own to develop solutions without immediate feedback. I.e., they are relied on to come up with *a* solution instead
    of waiting to hear what the instructors offer.

    But, it is more confrontational. And, can intimidate students.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Tom Biasi@21:1/5 to Don Y on Wed Mar 2 21:22:15 2022
    On 3/2/2022 9:04 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/2/2022 6:45 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    On 3/2/2022 1:37 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/1/2022 9:30 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?

    I would always encourage critical thinking as long as they have the
    proper tools to accomplish. When would one expect kids to be able to
    think for themselves? As far as I am concerned; at birth.

    I think a lot depends on "motivation".

    E.g., I'd give good odds that a *toddler* could figure out how
    to get into the "cookie jar".  OTOH, put a bar of SOAP (for
    "bath time") there and it will likely remain unchallenged!

    If thinking for themselves was so commonplace, one would
    expect all students to do well in all fields -- as there
    is an incentive ("good grades") to doing so.

    So, I see a big part of the problem as being one of generating
    "buzz"... motivation to make them WANT to figure out the problems
    laid out for them.  Putting *cookies* in the jar instead of
    bars of soap!  The flip side is avoiding confrontations
    that they might see as "discouraging".

    I.e., "tests" -- with "grades" -- will likely do more harm than
    good.  So, need to be designed to reinforce their grasp of the
    material and not try to trip them up (even if that's only just a
    perception).

    As this is not-for-credit, they have to *want* to return.
    If they are not thinking for themselves who is thinking for them?
    I'm not saying who forces their actions.

    That was the point of the question.

       "For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let
       them explore it and help them develop solutions.  Then, challenge those
       solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed
       by their previously developed solutions."

    This would be an interaction between their minds and the instructors'.
    But, primarily the instructors *guiding* their thinking.  They are
    never in a "responsible" position as the instructors have to keep
    the course moving, despite any real engagement from the *whole* of
    the class.

    By contrast:

       "A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test* material
       to see if they:  recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and
       see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly."

    leaves them largely on their own to develop solutions without immediate feedback.  I.e., they are relied on to come up with *a* solution instead
    of waiting to hear what the instructors offer.

    But, it is more confrontational.  And, can intimidate students.
    Good luck.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Tom Biasi on Wed Mar 2 19:32:49 2022
    On 3/2/2022 7:22 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    On 3/2/2022 9:04 PM, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/2/2022 6:45 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    On 3/2/2022 1:37 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/1/2022 9:30 PM, Tom Biasi wrote:
    When does one expect kids to be able to "think for themselves"?

    I would always encourage critical thinking as long as they have the proper
    tools to accomplish. When would one expect kids to be able to think for >>>>> themselves? As far as I am concerned; at birth.

    I think a lot depends on "motivation".

    E.g., I'd give good odds that a *toddler* could figure out how
    to get into the "cookie jar". OTOH, put a bar of SOAP (for
    "bath time") there and it will likely remain unchallenged!

    If thinking for themselves was so commonplace, one would
    expect all students to do well in all fields -- as there
    is an incentive ("good grades") to doing so.

    So, I see a big part of the problem as being one of generating
    "buzz"... motivation to make them WANT to figure out the problems
    laid out for them. Putting *cookies* in the jar instead of
    bars of soap! The flip side is avoiding confrontations
    that they might see as "discouraging".

    I.e., "tests" -- with "grades" -- will likely do more harm than
    good. So, need to be designed to reinforce their grasp of the
    material and not try to trip them up (even if that's only just a
    perception).

    As this is not-for-credit, they have to *want* to return.
    If they are not thinking for themselves who is thinking for them?
    I'm not saying who forces their actions.

    That was the point of the question.

    "For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let >> them explore it and help them develop solutions. Then, challenge those >> solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed >> by their previously developed solutions."

    This would be an interaction between their minds and the instructors'.
    But, primarily the instructors *guiding* their thinking. They are
    never in a "responsible" position as the instructors have to keep
    the course moving, despite any real engagement from the *whole* of
    the class.

    By contrast:

    "A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test* material
    to see if they: recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and >> see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly."

    leaves them largely on their own to develop solutions without immediate
    feedback. I.e., they are relied on to come up with *a* solution instead
    of waiting to hear what the instructors offer.

    But, it is more confrontational. And, can intimidate students.
    Good luck.

    I suspect we will be hugely successful; the current/legacy approach
    of teaching these subjects is the "regurgitation" mode. Clearly that
    isn't working if (US) math/science competence is at such a low!

    Clearly, one can't "memorize" all there is to know re: math
    so methods haven't been successfully taught. And, the way it has
    traditionally been taught somewhat intentionally segregates
    students ("college prep" and "other").

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Martin Brown@21:1/5 to Don Y on Thu Mar 3 09:46:36 2022
    On 02/03/2022 22:28, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/2/2022 3:55 AM, Martin Brown wrote:
    On 02/03/2022 04:02, Don Y wrote:

    I'm trying to decide how much hand-holding is appropriate vs. "unaided
    discovery".

    If you are good at the subject it really doesn't make much difference
    but if you are not too bright discovery quickly becomes "accident".

    How they "get there" isn't important -- *if* they learn, in the process.

    The syllabus I mentioned was all about guided discovery. Certainly much
    better than rote learning but still a minority interest in the UK.

    My school was unusual in doing Nuffield syllabus. I still have my copy
    of the Nuffield Data book (recommended) although I have long since
    graduated to CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics and Abromvitch & Stegun.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nuffield-Advanced-Science-Book-Chemistry/dp/058235448X/

    Secondhand they are about £3 rather than £30 new.

    For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let
    them explore it and help them develop solutions.  Then, challenge those >>> solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed
    by their previously developed solutions.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    In this case, any "testing" would simply be regurgitating one of the
    many scenarios explored during the class to see how well it is
    recognized
    and whether or not the "correct" solution is forthcoming.

    A quick one that will find the very brightest is draw an ellipse using
    only a piece of string and two pins. For physics and engineering
    things involving pendulums are not a bad choice with little scope for
    damage.

    I quote "testing" as the intent isn't to quantify their knowledge but, rather, to coerce them into applying it.  I think if you just push information AT them and never put them in a position to "think for themselves", they don't embrace the material taught.

    It depends on the context whether or not score is important.

    Theoretical physics is very tough and competitive so the first week of
    the final course was followed by a very difficult exam to put off anyone
    not going to make the grade. This was deliberate policy by the
    department. It got a bit easier after that if you were any good at it...

    Two of us dug our heals in and insisted that the dozen or so who got the
    answer correct according to the physics should also get full marks. My
    more practical colleague turned up with the circuit nailed to a plank.
    Mine was a sheet of paper with the algebra on it- our point was the
    same. His method was a lot more convincing though.
    And, I think putting a "number" (score) on a "test" sends the wrong
    message. You want them to understand what they've "missed" and not
    make them feel like they failed.

    Depends what the purpose of the test is. I have been an examination
    marker in the past. The really controversial questions are the ones
    where the marking scheme "correct" answer is itself in some way
    incorrect. Only happened once in the years I did it but it was fun!

    A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test*
    material
    to see if they:  recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and
    see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly.

    This seems like it would lead to a more lasting impression and reinforce >>> "how to learn" (instead of "how to remember what you've been taught").
    But, I'm afraid it may be overly harsh on too many students given the
    conditions typically encountered for testing.

    ISTR the latter being how much of my later education was based -- though >>> the earlier years were more "regurgitation".

    The transition between learning by just remembering stuff and having
    to really think out the right answer is quite a tricky one.

    Yes -- hence the question.

    The point of the "class" is to spark an interest in STEM... to show them
    that these are *tools* that can be used to solve real problems.  (unlike "History" which only bears fruit later in life)

    One which might suit although it is strictly more of an engineering
    problem is "The Great Egg Race" where the challenge is to transport an
    egg from one side of a gymnasium to the other as quickly as possible and unharmed. It was the basis of a UK TV science programme mid 70's.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Egg_Race

    Obviously some of the failures are more entertaining that the winners.

    [I can recall stumbling on the notion of "similar triangles" when I
    was a youngster -- before it had a *name* (trig) -- and the sorts
    of things that it allowed me to do that would, otherwise, have been effectively impossible:  "How tall is that oak tree?  If it was
    to fall/be felled, what might it fall *onto*?"]

    I recall being horribly bored by high school mathematics.

    One challenge that did test me was construct the triangle with ruler and compasses given only two sides and the radius of the inscribed circle.
    That did not come from school though - but from a bank manager!

    You measure the success of the *class* ("program"), not the success
    ("test scores") of the students!  I.e., "Is this a good way to increase interest in STEM?"

    Solving problems with computer programs will interest some of them.
    Building hardware that does something interesting will get you a
    different subset of your audience. No one size fits all.

    A participant who may not have a great skill set can still be a
    "successful result" if his/her attitude towards STEM is enhanced
    by the experience.

    I know one genius class individual at school who failed to make the
    transition to university successfully. I still don't understand why.
    She was in addition a gifted musician as well as being (very) good at
    the sciences.

    I met an "idiot savant" whose skill was arithmetic.  He could do
    math in his head *instantly*.  But, needed a constant companion to
    navigate the simple tasks in "life".

    I know a dyslexic professor of mathematics. His skill is in visualising solutions and then writing down the algebra describing it. Strangely his reading dyslexia for words did not affect his mathematics much at all.

    He went to a very prestigious public school on a scholarship after
    having been identified with this highly unusual combination of skills.

    --
    Regards,
    Martin Brown

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Martin Brown on Thu Mar 3 05:12:33 2022
    On 3/3/2022 2:46 AM, Martin Brown wrote:
    On 02/03/2022 22:28, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/2/2022 3:55 AM, Martin Brown wrote:
    On 02/03/2022 04:02, Don Y wrote:

    I'm trying to decide how much hand-holding is appropriate vs. "unaided >>>> discovery".

    If you are good at the subject it really doesn't make much difference but if
    you are not too bright discovery quickly becomes "accident".

    How they "get there" isn't important -- *if* they learn, in the process.

    The syllabus I mentioned was all about guided discovery. Certainly much better
    than rote learning but still a minority interest in the UK.

    I chased down the URL but it looks like I will have to make a fair bit of
    time to chase down all of the downloads (I didn't see a "download all" link, anywhere).

    My school was unusual in doing Nuffield syllabus. I still have my copy of the Nuffield Data book (recommended) although I have long since graduated to CRC Handbook of Chemistry & Physics and Abromvitch & Stegun.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nuffield-Advanced-Science-Book-Chemistry/dp/058235448X/

    Secondhand they are about £3 rather than £30 new.

    For example, one approach is to introduce a subject/problem space, let >>>> them explore it and help them develop solutions. Then, challenge those >>>> solutions with different problems known (by me) to be poorly addressed >>>> by their previously developed solutions.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    In this case, any "testing" would simply be regurgitating one of the
    many scenarios explored during the class to see how well it is recognized >>>> and whether or not the "correct" solution is forthcoming.

    A quick one that will find the very brightest is draw an ellipse using only >>> a piece of string and two pins. For physics and engineering things involving
    pendulums are not a bad choice with little scope for damage.

    I quote "testing" as the intent isn't to quantify their knowledge but,
    rather, to coerce them into applying it. I think if you just push
    information AT them and never put them in a position to "think for
    themselves", they don't embrace the material taught.

    It depends on the context whether or not score is important.

    Theoretical physics is very tough and competitive so the first week of the final course was followed by a very difficult exam to put off anyone not going
    to make the grade. This was deliberate policy by the department. It got a bit easier after that if you were any good at it...

    Two of us dug our heals in and insisted that the dozen or so who got the answer
    correct according to the physics should also get full marks. My more practical
    colleague turned up with the circuit nailed to a plank. Mine was a sheet of paper with the algebra on it- our point was the same. His method was a lot more
    convincing though.

    We're not trying to "teach" them anything, in particular. Rather, we
    are trying to spark their interest in STEM by showing them that it is *practical* knowledge and not just a bunch of sterile abstractions.

    Our interest in "testing" is in having some mechanism to gauge how well
    they are *engaging* in the material. It's too easy (when there are no
    "grades" involved) to just "be present" and not "be engaged".

    And, I think putting a "number" (score) on a "test" sends the wrong
    message. You want them to understand what they've "missed" and not
    make them feel like they failed.

    Depends what the purpose of the test is. I have been an examination marker in the past. The really controversial questions are the ones where the marking scheme "correct" answer is itself in some way incorrect. Only happened once in
    the years I did it but it was fun!

    Ideally, we will create "problems" that have no "right" answer. The goal
    is to coerce them into *trying* things with an eye towards being able to identify why something worked -- or not.

    We want to develop critical/analytical thinking that yearns for application.

    A *different* approach is to present the new challenges as *test* material >>>> to see if they: recognize that their solution(s) don't work; why; and >>>> see if they can adapt new solutions, on-the-fly.

    This seems like it would lead to a more lasting impression and reinforce >>>> "how to learn" (instead of "how to remember what you've been taught"). >>>> But, I'm afraid it may be overly harsh on too many students given the
    conditions typically encountered for testing.

    ISTR the latter being how much of my later education was based -- though >>>> the earlier years were more "regurgitation".

    The transition between learning by just remembering stuff and having to
    really think out the right answer is quite a tricky one.

    Yes -- hence the question.

    The point of the "class" is to spark an interest in STEM... to show them
    that these are *tools* that can be used to solve real problems. (unlike
    "History" which only bears fruit later in life)

    One which might suit although it is strictly more of an engineering problem is
    "The Great Egg Race" where the challenge is to transport an egg from one side of a gymnasium to the other as quickly as possible and unharmed. It was the basis of a UK TV science programme mid 70's.

    We have no shortage of "problems" to solve. What we need are:
    - metrics by which we can quantify how well we are meeting our stated objective - (to that end) metrics by which we can quantify how well the students are
    engaging in the program

    You can't (practically) look at performance in the regular school program (which they are attending in parallel with this) and draw conclusions about
    the impact you are having (how do you know there has been a change? how do
    you know that you are the reason for that change??)

    [There are also privacy issues governing what we can see/report]

    You *can*, however, notice how many participants stay with the program
    for the full term -- if they are bored with it, they will likely stop
    coming as the time spent comes out of their "personal" time allotments
    ("I'd rather be playing with my friends!")

    You can notice whether or not they "re-up" with the program in
    their next school year.

    You can notice if *other* kids want to join the program (in
    subsequent years).

    On a larger scale, you can look to see if you have any impact on the
    graduation rate and, even longer term, on the careers chosen.
    (but, that can only happen if the program can demonstrate some
    potential for making positive changes, in that regard).

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Egg_Race

    Obviously some of the failures are more entertaining that the winners.

    [I can recall stumbling on the notion of "similar triangles" when I
    was a youngster -- before it had a *name* (trig) -- and the sorts
    of things that it allowed me to do that would, otherwise, have been
    effectively impossible: "How tall is that oak tree? If it was
    to fall/be felled, what might it fall *onto*?"]

    I recall being horribly bored by high school mathematics.

    Math is almost always taught in a boring/sterile manner.
    Even the "problems" are contrived.

    This persists through college -- likely because the assumption is
    that you can think in abstractions ("Wombats are crossing a highway.
    Each wombat requires 15 seconds to cross the roadway. It is vulnerable
    to death/injury for the entire time it is on the roadway. Vehicles
    pass with interarrival times defined by the following PDF. Assuming
    the vehicle arrivals are independant events, what is the probability
    that a particular wombat will survive the transit...")

    On the other hand, if you present a *real* problem needing solution,
    students can "see" how a problem that they are facing can benefit
    from such analysis.

    "How many marbles are in this container?"

    "How many popsicle sticks will we need to fabricate a bridge for
    this model train to traverse this chasm?"

    One challenge that did test me was construct the triangle with ruler and compasses given only two sides and the radius of the inscribed circle. That did
    not come from school though - but from a bank manager!

    We did geometric constructions as part of our geometry class. Duplicate an angle, trisect a circle, construct a parallel to a line, drop a perpendicular from a point, etc.

    But, again, where's the application/utility? ("Why will I *not* have a scale/ruler when facing this problem?")

    I enjoyed math tricks (e.g., Trachenberg) and puzzles. Later, learning shorthand ways to do statistical surveys (think: quality control on
    a factory floor) without any real math, etc.

    But, most folks aren't going to be interested in any of this.

    I found having a background in geometry handy in understanding "mechanisms" that I encountered. E.g., in the theater, lights rely on geometric solids
    to determine how they will distribute their light (ellipsoidals, parabolic). Or, using parabolic microphones.

    There is a a "whispering chamber" at the Museum of Science and Industry
    (in Chicago) that is just a (long!) room with elliptically shaped walls:

    <http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-wnv4buYqY-Q/UefWc4kBlgI/AAAAAAAAAnw/56huopGot50/s1600/whisper_wide.jpg>

    It is hilarious to stand on a focus -- with a friend on the other -- and WHISPER to each other (while surrounded by crowds of loud visitors) and
    be able to hear each other perfectly. *Seeing* (hearing) the math "work"
    is delightful!

    You measure the success of the *class* ("program"), not the success
    ("test scores") of the students! I.e., "Is this a good way to increase
    interest in STEM?"

    Solving problems with computer programs will interest some of them. Building hardware that does something interesting will get you a different subset of your audience. No one size fits all.

    Again, we have lots of "problem"/project ideas. The problem is sorting out
    how to *measure* the process (and the participants)

    A participant who may not have a great skill set can still be a
    "successful result" if his/her attitude towards STEM is enhanced
    by the experience.

    I know one genius class individual at school who failed to make the
    transition to university successfully. I still don't understand why. She was
    in addition a gifted musician as well as being (very) good at the sciences. >>
    I met an "idiot savant" whose skill was arithmetic. He could do
    math in his head *instantly*. But, needed a constant companion to
    navigate the simple tasks in "life".

    I know a dyslexic professor of mathematics. His skill is in visualising solutions and then writing down the algebra describing it. Strangely his reading dyslexia for words did not affect his mathematics much at all.

    My previous dentist was dyslexic. He claimed that dyslexics tend to have
    high degrees of digital dexterity. <shrug> Dunno. All I cared about was
    how good of a dentist he was! :>

    He went to a very prestigious public school on a scholarship after having been
    identified with this highly unusual combination of skills.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Phil Hobbs@21:1/5 to Martin Brown on Thu Mar 3 08:03:42 2022
    Martin Brown wrote:
    <snip>
    The point of the "class" is to spark an interest in STEM... to show them
    that these are *tools* that can be used to solve real problems.  (unlike
    "History" which only bears fruit later in life)

    One which might suit although it is strictly more of an engineering
    problem is "The Great Egg Race" where the challenge is to transport an
    egg from one side of a gymnasium to the other as quickly as possible and unharmed. It was the basis of a UK TV science programme mid 70's.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Egg_Race

    Obviously some of the failures are more entertaining that the winners.

    <snip>

    Horizontal transport is key.

    Back in the long ago, UBC had a shiny new physics lab / lecture hall
    building called Hebb. On one end, it had a four-story tower with glass
    walls, containing only a staircase and a Foucault pendulum running the
    full height of the building.

    They had a competition for lower-level undergraduates for who could get
    an egg from the fourth floor to the ground fastest without breaking it.
    They had a couple of He-Ne laser / photodiode gizmos and a CAMAC crate
    to do the timing--all very physicsy and all.

    There were imaginitive solutions such as arrows with sculptured foam
    noses and so on, and it went on for a few years like that. Then one
    bright spark took his egg, wrapped it in paper towels inside a foam
    container that had formerly housed a Big Mac, taped it to a flimsy mylon rucksack full of rocks, and dropped that. Four stories down, inside a
    narrow tower with all-glass walls and a concrete floor.

    That was the last year for the competition.

    Cheers

    Phil Hobbs

    (Who came along the following year, 1976. Honest.)

    --
    Dr Philip C D Hobbs
    Principal Consultant
    ElectroOptical Innovations LLC / Hobbs ElectroOptics
    Optics, Electro-optics, Photonics, Analog Electronics
    Briarcliff Manor NY 10510

    http://electrooptical.net
    http://hobbs-eo.com

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to Don Y on Fri Mar 4 04:46:29 2022
    On 3/3/2022 5:12 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On the other hand, if you present a *real* problem needing solution,
    students can "see" how a problem that they are facing can benefit
    from such analysis.

    Imagine setting out to design a cart/conveyance.

    Start out with 4 wheels (you can, later, challenge that assumption).

    How do you allow the cart to travel in anything other than a straight line?

    You can implement a crude mechanism to change the angular orientation
    of two of the wheels (e.g., put them on an axle that has a central?
    pivot point and add a means of adjusting that pivot).

    Gee, it has a large turning radius! How large? *Why*? How can we decrease that? Hack together a mathematical expression that relates the physical parameters of the design to the effective turning radius and "graph" the result. Where is the minimum? What *limits* the minimum attainable?

    What if we allowed the wheels to pivot "locally" (e.g., like rack and pinion)? What does this buy us? What does it cost (mechanism complexity)

    What if we allowed front and rear wheels to pivot? Why did we initially
    assume the *front* wheels had to pivot?

    Why does the wheel on one side get "scuffed" in turns?

    E.g., with this sort of approach, you can move from a "straight-line" vehicle to one with a "swerve" drive -- and SHOW the advantages and costs of each. (What *technology* do you need to implement each?)

    No need for computers or advanced math so you can involve kids of various different capabilities without intimidating some.

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From John Walliker@21:1/5 to Don Y on Sat Mar 5 12:11:23 2022
    On Friday, 4 March 2022 at 11:46:56 UTC, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/3/2022 5:12 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On the other hand, if you present a *real* problem needing solution, students can "see" how a problem that they are facing can benefit
    from such analysis.
    Imagine setting out to design a cart/conveyance.

    Start out with 4 wheels (you can, later, challenge that assumption).

    How do you allow the cart to travel in anything other than a straight line?

    You can implement a crude mechanism to change the angular orientation
    of two of the wheels (e.g., put them on an axle that has a central?
    pivot point and add a means of adjusting that pivot).

    Gee, it has a large turning radius! How large? *Why*? How can we decrease that? Hack together a mathematical expression that relates the physical parameters of the design to the effective turning radius and "graph" the result. Where is the minimum? What *limits* the minimum attainable?

    What if we allowed the wheels to pivot "locally" (e.g., like rack and pinion)?
    What does this buy us? What does it cost (mechanism complexity)

    What if we allowed front and rear wheels to pivot? Why did we initially assume the *front* wheels had to pivot?

    Why does the wheel on one side get "scuffed" in turns?

    E.g., with this sort of approach, you can move from a "straight-line" vehicle to one with a "swerve" drive -- and SHOW the advantages and costs of each. (What *technology* do you need to implement each?)

    No need for computers or advanced math so you can involve kids of various different capabilities without intimidating some.

    I once read that one could throw a raw egg over the roof of a house and if it landed on a grass lawn it would not break.
    I tried it. It really was true (but only some of the time because there were some
    stones in the lawn).
    Less good were the trials where it didn't quite make it over the top.

    I also found a way of shooting a hole through a glass light bulb with
    an air pistol without completely shattering it - just leaving an entry and
    exit hole. All it needed was sufficient precision in aiming so that
    the pellet was perpendicular to the glass at the point of impact. And ways of making the pellet emerge from the barrel at supersonic speed. And explode
    on impact with a target.
    Nowadays of course I would have been arrested for these - and other - activities
    that involved the rapid expansion of hot gases.

    John

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Don Y@21:1/5 to John Walliker on Sat Mar 5 16:13:30 2022
    On 3/5/2022 1:11 PM, John Walliker wrote:
    I once read that one could throw a raw egg over the roof of a house and if it landed on a grass lawn it would not break.
    I tried it. It really was true (but only some of the time because there were some
    stones in the lawn).
    Less good were the trials where it didn't quite make it over the top.

    There are lots of novelty "tricks" you can do with eggs... balancing on end, checking freshness without cracking, hollowing, scrambling in shell, dissolving shell, etc.

    Because eggs are so ubiquitous, they are good for challenging preconceived notions regarding their nature/characteristics.

    I also found a way of shooting a hole through a glass light bulb with
    an air pistol without completely shattering it - just leaving an entry and exit hole. All it needed was sufficient precision in aiming so that
    the pellet was perpendicular to the glass at the point of impact. And ways of
    making the pellet emerge from the barrel at supersonic speed. And explode
    on impact with a target.

    I always liked the pin-in-balloon trick (but, it really *is* a trick).

    Or, slicing an unpeeled banana.

    etc.

    Each of these are good -- yet simple -- puzzles to get kids to challenge their conventional thinking.

    [Favorite is: given a box of thumbtacks and a candle, mount -- and burn -- the candle on a cork-covered wall]

    Nowadays of course I would have been arrested for these - and other - activities
    that involved the rapid expansion of hot gases.

    John


    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Phil Hobbs@21:1/5 to John Walliker on Sat Mar 5 20:15:17 2022
    John Walliker wrote:
    On Friday, 4 March 2022 at 11:46:56 UTC, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/3/2022 5:12 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On the other hand, if you present a *real* problem needing solution,
    students can "see" how a problem that they are facing can benefit
    from such analysis.
    Imagine setting out to design a cart/conveyance.

    Start out with 4 wheels (you can, later, challenge that assumption).

    How do you allow the cart to travel in anything other than a straight line? >>
    You can implement a crude mechanism to change the angular orientation
    of two of the wheels (e.g., put them on an axle that has a central?
    pivot point and add a means of adjusting that pivot).

    Gee, it has a large turning radius! How large? *Why*? How can we decrease
    that? Hack together a mathematical expression that relates the physical
    parameters of the design to the effective turning radius and "graph" the
    result. Where is the minimum? What *limits* the minimum attainable?

    What if we allowed the wheels to pivot "locally" (e.g., like rack and pinion)?
    What does this buy us? What does it cost (mechanism complexity)

    What if we allowed front and rear wheels to pivot? Why did we initially
    assume the *front* wheels had to pivot?

    Why does the wheel on one side get "scuffed" in turns?

    E.g., with this sort of approach, you can move from a "straight-line" vehicle
    to one with a "swerve" drive -- and SHOW the advantages and costs of each. >> (What *technology* do you need to implement each?)

    No need for computers or advanced math so you can involve kids of various
    different capabilities without intimidating some.

    I once read that one could throw a raw egg over the roof of a house and if it landed on a grass lawn it would not break.
    I tried it. It really was true (but only some of the time because there were some
    stones in the lawn).
    Less good were the trials where it didn't quite make it over the top.

    I also found a way of shooting a hole through a glass light bulb with
    an air pistol without completely shattering it - just leaving an entry and exit hole. All it needed was sufficient precision in aiming so that
    the pellet was perpendicular to the glass at the point of impact. And ways of
    making the pellet emerge from the barrel at supersonic speed. And explode
    on impact with a target.

    Good luck making a pellet supersonic with a gas charge that starts at
    ambient temperature. You need the propellant to stay in contact with
    the pellet as it goes down the barrel.

    Cheers

    Phil Hobbs


    --
    Dr Philip C D Hobbs
    Principal Consultant
    ElectroOptical Innovations LLC / Hobbs ElectroOptics
    Optics, Electro-optics, Photonics, Analog Electronics
    Briarcliff Manor NY 10510

    http://electrooptical.net
    http://hobbs-eo.com

    --- SoupGate-Win32 v1.05
    * Origin: fsxNet Usenet Gateway (21:1/5)
  • From Lasse Langwadt Christensen@21:1/5 to All on Wed Mar 9 16:09:54 2022
    torsdag den 10. marts 2022 kl. 00.30.45 UTC+1 skrev John Walliker:
    On Sunday, 6 March 2022 at 01:15:29 UTC, Phil Hobbs wrote:
    John Walliker wrote:
    On Friday, 4 March 2022 at 11:46:56 UTC, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/3/2022 5:12 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On the other hand, if you present a *real* problem needing solution, >>> students can "see" how a problem that they are facing can benefit
    from such analysis.
    Imagine setting out to design a cart/conveyance.

    Start out with 4 wheels (you can, later, challenge that assumption).

    How do you allow the cart to travel in anything other than a straight line?

    You can implement a crude mechanism to change the angular orientation >> of two of the wheels (e.g., put them on an axle that has a central?
    pivot point and add a means of adjusting that pivot).

    Gee, it has a large turning radius! How large? *Why*? How can we decrease
    that? Hack together a mathematical expression that relates the physical >> parameters of the design to the effective turning radius and "graph" the
    result. Where is the minimum? What *limits* the minimum attainable?

    What if we allowed the wheels to pivot "locally" (e.g., like rack and pinion)?
    What does this buy us? What does it cost (mechanism complexity)

    What if we allowed front and rear wheels to pivot? Why did we initially >> assume the *front* wheels had to pivot?

    Why does the wheel on one side get "scuffed" in turns?

    E.g., with this sort of approach, you can move from a "straight-line" vehicle
    to one with a "swerve" drive -- and SHOW the advantages and costs of each.
    (What *technology* do you need to implement each?)

    No need for computers or advanced math so you can involve kids of various
    different capabilities without intimidating some.

    I once read that one could throw a raw egg over the roof of a house and if it
    landed on a grass lawn it would not break.
    I tried it. It really was true (but only some of the time because there were some
    stones in the lawn).
    Less good were the trials where it didn't quite make it over the top.

    I also found a way of shooting a hole through a glass light bulb with
    an air pistol without completely shattering it - just leaving an entry and
    exit hole. All it needed was sufficient precision in aiming so that
    the pellet was perpendicular to the glass at the point of impact. And ways of
    making the pellet emerge from the barrel at supersonic speed. And explode
    on impact with a target.
    Good luck making a pellet supersonic with a gas charge that starts at ambient temperature. You need the propellant to stay in contact with
    the pellet as it goes down the barrel.

    That is where the fuel air mixture in the compression chamber comes in. I used the diesel fuel intended for model aircraft engines, atomised in the compression chamber by firing once without a pellet after introducing the fuel. The atomised fuel would
    ignite on the next firing if soon afterwards.

    sound like it would be far too much oil, oiled pellets should be enough

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  • From John Walliker@21:1/5 to Phil Hobbs on Wed Mar 9 15:30:36 2022
    On Sunday, 6 March 2022 at 01:15:29 UTC, Phil Hobbs wrote:
    John Walliker wrote:
    On Friday, 4 March 2022 at 11:46:56 UTC, Don Y wrote:
    On 3/3/2022 5:12 AM, Don Y wrote:
    On the other hand, if you present a *real* problem needing solution,
    students can "see" how a problem that they are facing can benefit
    from such analysis.
    Imagine setting out to design a cart/conveyance.

    Start out with 4 wheels (you can, later, challenge that assumption).

    How do you allow the cart to travel in anything other than a straight line?

    You can implement a crude mechanism to change the angular orientation
    of two of the wheels (e.g., put them on an axle that has a central?
    pivot point and add a means of adjusting that pivot).

    Gee, it has a large turning radius! How large? *Why*? How can we decrease >> that? Hack together a mathematical expression that relates the physical >> parameters of the design to the effective turning radius and "graph" the >> result. Where is the minimum? What *limits* the minimum attainable?

    What if we allowed the wheels to pivot "locally" (e.g., like rack and pinion)?
    What does this buy us? What does it cost (mechanism complexity)

    What if we allowed front and rear wheels to pivot? Why did we initially >> assume the *front* wheels had to pivot?

    Why does the wheel on one side get "scuffed" in turns?

    E.g., with this sort of approach, you can move from a "straight-line" vehicle
    to one with a "swerve" drive -- and SHOW the advantages and costs of each.
    (What *technology* do you need to implement each?)

    No need for computers or advanced math so you can involve kids of various >> different capabilities without intimidating some.

    I once read that one could throw a raw egg over the roof of a house and if it
    landed on a grass lawn it would not break.
    I tried it. It really was true (but only some of the time because there were some
    stones in the lawn).
    Less good were the trials where it didn't quite make it over the top.

    I also found a way of shooting a hole through a glass light bulb with
    an air pistol without completely shattering it - just leaving an entry and exit hole. All it needed was sufficient precision in aiming so that
    the pellet was perpendicular to the glass at the point of impact. And ways of
    making the pellet emerge from the barrel at supersonic speed. And explode on impact with a target.
    Good luck making a pellet supersonic with a gas charge that starts at ambient temperature. You need the propellant to stay in contact with
    the pellet as it goes down the barrel.

    That is where the fuel air mixture in the compression chamber comes in. I used the diesel fuel intended for model aircraft engines, atomised in the compression chamber by firing once without a pellet after introducing the fuel. The atomised fuel would
    ignite on the next firing if soon afterwards.
    John

    Cheers

    Phil Hobbs
    --
    Dr Philip C D Hobbs
    Principal Consultant
    ElectroOptical Innovations LLC / Hobbs ElectroOptics
    Optics, Electro-optics, Photonics, Analog Electronics
    Briarcliff Manor NY 10510

    http://electrooptical.net
    http://hobbs-eo.com

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