# [IAEP] [Its.an.education.project] An example on statistical dynamics on XO

forster at ozonline.com.au forster at ozonline.com.au
Fri May 23 01:42:47 CEST 2008

```Thanks Greg and Yoshiki for the feedback.

Greg wrote:
“More options to tweak would be good. Let the kids "pour" a substance
in and examine the results. What if the "molecules" are made of milk or
oxygen or water or neon?
Have a small library of items and then allow the kids to create new
ones. Maybe they can try it in the physical lab then try it on the
computer. Can they adjust the temperature? Dials, buttons and switches
make it more fun to use.”

Its always a difficult thing for me, deciding how far to take a sim , the more I do, the less I have left for the learner to discover. I try to stop as soon as I have something that works but leave the optional features for the learner.

I have left some specific problems in the intro/help :

Things to try
Change the number of molecules n
Change the pressure P (increase the gravity on the piston)
Change the temperature T (the speed of the gas molecules)
Is this an accurate representation of the physics? Why not? Fix it.

I should have added: Do an on screen temperature display
This would raise a few questions for the learner:
Is T proportional to average speed or speed squared? I don't know
What is the speed distribution?
The molecule speeds are not randomised, there are no inter molecule collisions
How to compute the average? (probably use the “with” language feature in GM)

Other questions:
How to change V?
Graph the speed distribution?

I do not see the sim as a vehicle for learning the gas law, the gas law is not that important. I see the sim as an opportunity to engage deeply with the subject matter and develop generalised skills in problem solving. (Read Jonassen on ill defined problems http://www.springerlink.com/content/tnk3716r532x0827/ http://it.coe.uga.edu/itforum/paper83/paper83.html).

The role of the knowledge about the gas law (and many other things) is to provide a rich set of building blocks with which to do problem solving or higher order thinking.

Greg wrote:
“Historically speaking, how was
the formula originally derived? “
I have given a Wikipedia link in the intro/help, that could be a springboard for research by the learner, should I copy a short history to the help/intro?

Greg wrote:
“In general, I suggest you start with the phenomenon and not the equation.”
Is it better if the intro/help comes up a the beginning or not? I don't know. Easily changed.

Greg wrote”Amazing that you got this coded so quickly!” GameMaker is very well suited for kinematics, the programming was really easy.

Thanks for all the suggestions. I am very happy to receive feedback on this and the other sims I have done http://rupert.id.au/schoolgamemaker/samples3/.

I hope concrete examples can help identify (constructionist) learning goal(s) and a range of pathways towards these goals. Then, looking at a number of implementations including Sugar/Etoys and Windows/GameMaker (see also gas.py distributed with Vpython and don't forget Scratch), it would be good to identify what features of the OS and programming environment best facilitate these pathways. Then we may have a prioritised “wish list” of features which are drawn from the best of what these platforms have to offer.

Tony
```