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Case study // Designing a Physics Simulation (France)

This case study story relates the experience of a French teacher engaged in the cycle 3 of pilots (Sept-Dec 2012). It gives an overview on what happenned in the classroom and on the impact of these activities as analysed by the teachers and the students.

Background

  • Age of students: 14-15 years
  • Number in class: 18 students
  • The subject:  Physics      
  • Aims/Objectives:  To produce a design for a charger that uses a renewable energy source (except solar energy in order to use the principle of an alternator); To investigate renewable energies (definition, examples); To understand the principle of an alternator and to distinguish the different types of voltage (direct/variable/alternating)
  • Over what period of time? 1 or 2 hours a week from 30th Nov to 11th Jan
  • Location of lessons?  Computer room and homework
 

Teachers and students experiences: What happened ? 

The teacher creative some activity sheets, with specific instructions for the pupils. The initial design brief proved to be quite abstract for the teacher and for his pupils, so these sheets picked up the core idea of the design brief, but expressed it in the form of “step-by-step” questions, so that the pupils could better understand what they had to do. 
 
The task was divided into 5 “workshops”.  Each one corresponded to one of the iTEC activities.
 
Students worked in groups of between 2 and 4.  First, they searched for examples of renewable energy chargers on the Internet.  They then chose a type of energy for their charger, tested out the principle of electricity production, looked at how an alternator works and at the distinction between direct and alternating voltage.  They then presented their work to friends from other schools or parents, and drew up a sketch of the charger they would like to construct and finalised their design
 
Throughout the task, they recorded their progress on a blog and saved their work to the school’s digital workspace.
 

Key innovations: What was new or different overall ?

Using technology for an extended project: The school has only 4 computer rooms and no wifi, so activities which require a class to have regular use of the technology are unusual.
Working on a design project: The design brief and design process were new concepts for both the teacher and students, so both needed to work to understand what these meant in more concrete terms which could be applied in the classroom.
 

                                             Read the full case study