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Computational Thinking and Physics – Scientix blog Scientix blog



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Learning objectives:
a) Analyze projectile motion in perpendicular directions to understand one-dimensional motion and decomposition.
b) Calculate the time of flight, measure the range, and determine the maximum height of a projectile using algorithmic thinking and step-by-step approach.
c) Examine and calculate the trajectory of a projectile to identify recognizable patterns.

Description of the activity:
Teaching physics not only requires logical thinking but also provides opportunities for its development. Logical thinking plays a crucial role in coding and programming, making physics lessons essential for fostering computational thinking. An excellent example that promotes computational thinking in physics is the study of projectile motion, specifically the topic of a horizontal shot. This complex motion can be effectively understood by breaking it down into simpler motions along two perpendicular directions.

In the learning process, students utilize the trajectory of the horizontal shot, which is outlined on an A4 paper. They employ tools such as a ruler, writing pencil, and calculator to analyze the curvilinear trajectory that forms a parabolic shape. By applying physical laws, the trajectory is divided into segments or fields, with equal segments in the horizontal (x) and vertical (y) directions. Each horizontal segment determines the length of the corresponding field in the vertical direction.

Decomposing the two-dimensional complexity of the horizontal shot into one-dimensional segments allows students to identify recognizable patterns. The fields in both directions are interconnected, and each segment follows an exact physical law where time serves as the initial variable. Students measure field values in both the x and y directions, considering various combinations of fields. They form pairs of field values for each individual time interval, observe changes in the values as the total elapsed time progresses, and add the accumulated field values to subsequent segments in the x direction.

To further illustrate this concept, a trajectory of a horizontal shot is provided in the link, along with an example of how to organize the segments obtained through analysis in mutually perpendicular directions. The accompanying tables offer a characteristic example with selected data.

By engaging in this computational thinking approach, students enhance their logical thinking skills while gaining a deeper understanding of projectile motion in physics.

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Assessment:
Formative assessment is conducted through Rubrics, while summative assessment follows an achievement scale based on Rubrics with components and criteria.

Required materials:
Students need the trajectory of the Horizontal Shot on an A4 paper, a ruler, writing utensils, and a calculator. The working material includes a view of the trajectory accessible via this link.

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