I spent some time learning to use Geogebra recently. This is a math tool that can be used for a variety of things. The principal one for Physics is the idea of modeling. Once I that got the hang of a few things it was possible to create a model for shm that had controllable parameters and a visual output.

Some of the nice things about this would be:

  • It is easy enough to use to expect the kids to be able to produce some things
  • It gives a clear visual display quickly
  • It is possible to produce neat looking artifacts quickly – (I sent a file to the OCC showing slopes, differentials and match data in an interactive web page)
  • Working locally it is a quick, responsive program
  • The math department use it and it is useful for the IBDP IA modeling for math students

To go with these there are some things about it worth remembering:

  • It’s no substitute for real data through data loggers. It would be worth thinking how to use it with logger pro effectively to analyse experimental data. Error bars would seem to be the missing thing here
  • It’s tempting to find uses for a tool (to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail) even when it doesn’t fit. Some things it might do would be; shm, shm energy, radioactive decay chains, thin lens equation, max power theorem, climate analysis or modeling.
  • it’s another tool and some kids will find it helpful, others not, so a variety of approaches is useful
  • it is tempting to spend some time putting bells and whistles in – this is not always good
  • it is quite fun, so it can displace the ‘main aim’

So overall another useful tool to be woven in with care


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