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Completed Project

Physics in the Modern School: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Adapting Physical Simulations for Various Curricula

Alexandra Trunnell, Vassar College ’17 and Teddy Stanescu, Vassar College ’16, Sam Faber Manning, Vassar College ’16 and Jerry Kindig, Vassar College ’15, Luis Serazo, Vassar College ’18 and Profs. Cindy Schwarz and Peter Charlop

Interactive Physics is a program which has been used for twenty years to create physical simulations. Professor Cindy Schwarz produced a workbook of forty simulations utilizing this program in 1996, and again in 2004. We took this workbook and edited it, turning forty college level simulations into twenty five middle school level ones with new explanations, new questions, and a new, modern layout. Concepts were altered to fit the NY State Intermediate Level Science Core Curriculum for grades 5-8, and suggested grade levels assigned to each simulation. In addition, the simulations themselves were edited and enhanced with new art provided by CAAD (Creative Arts Across the Disciplines) artists Sam Faber-Manning and Jerry Kindig. In order to make the simulations more appealing, the program was manipulated to allow for animation within the simulations. These changes allowed for the simulations to become more intuitive, and thus more easily understood by students. The book, which was completed during the URSI program, will prove to be a valuable asset to middle school teachers.