Science faculty member Dr. Emma Mitchell, who teaches honors physics in the ninth grade, was selected to participate in a grant program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) which supports collaborative efforts between the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA), Bootstrap (a nationwide coding pedagogy project based at Brown University), and STEMteachersNYC.
Through this grant, Dr. Mitchell participated in a three-week computational modeling and physics workshop during Summer 2021 in which she was trained to integrate coding into every unit of her 9th-grade physics curriculum. Students will work in a coding language called Pyret, which is reminiscent of the Python language and others and which was designed specifically for coding education. The workshop also provided Dr. Mitchell with additional training on a guided-inquiry pedagogical framework for science called Modeling Instruction, which she started adapting in her teaching practices in the 2020-21 school year after a three-week workshop in Summer 2020 with STEMteachersMassBay.
Through this new partnership with the grant program, Dr. Mitchell will add computational modeling to the set of tools that students learn in 9th-grade physics. For each physics idea that students collaboratively develop in the classroom, they will be able to represent their understanding graphically, verbally, mathematically, diagrammatically, and now computationally with code. The program also includes regular meetings with workshop leaders and participants throughout the 2021-22 school year for check-ins and for ongoing education. Dr. Mitchell will also be collecting data on students’ progress before and after the course for the NSF grant.