Tag Archives: ap

AP Physics B End-of-Year Survey Results

Before I start planning for the new AP Physics 2 class in detail, I first reviewed the end-of-year feedback from my AP Physics B students. I made very few changes in this course last year since two years ago went well and this is the last year for the course. In the following charts, a “1” represents strongly agree and a “5” represents strongly disagree.

A majority of the students didn’t read the textbook much. I’m not surprised by this since I don’t push the textbook very much. It is dated and doesn’t align much with my pedagogy. Students rely on other resources from class much more. However, I do think it is important that students learn to read a college-level text. I’m extremely pleased that next year we will have Knight’s College Physics text which I will incorporate much more strongly into the new AP Physics 2 course.

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I assigned conceptual questions from the textbook. Again, most students didn’t answer these. However, those that did, found them valuable. The conceptual questions assigned from the text were different than those I used for peer instruction. I may make use Knight’s conceptual questions as some of the peer instruction questions next year, which I expect will motivate students to answer them.

Screen Shot 2014 06 24 at 10 25 12 AM

Many students did not solve the homework problems. Those that did, found them helpful. Honestly, with few exceptions, I’m fine with this. [I don’t grade homework](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/166/no-more-credit-for-homework/) and want students to learn to determine if they need the additional practice or not. Most of my students learn to self assess and make good choices in this area.

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Lab activities and practice quizzes are all about learning and not graded. Students found the quizzes (old AP free response questions) particularly useful. I’m really going to miss having a huge collection of old free response questions next year in AP Physics 2.

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I wanted to highlight peer instruction specifically. I was [surprised last year](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/284/ap-physics-b-reflections-and-plans-for-next-year/) how valuable students found peer instruction focused on conceptual questions. This year’s feedback was just as strong. In the free-form comments in the section “What are some things that I should keep doing next year?” peer instruction was mentioned more than anything else. I think focusing on conceptual questions through peer instruction will be even more important in the new AP Physics 1/2 courses which emphasize a deep, conceptual understanding. Perhaps, since this has been a focus of my class for the past two years, is why I’m freaking out much less than other AP physics teachers after taking the AP practice exams.

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Strong positive feedback on the summative labs for the course. I plan to incorporate those that are relevant into the AP Physics 2 course next year. We’ve already incorporated some of them into the AP Physics 1 course. The choices for the “I found the summative labs:” question ranged from too challenging (1) to too easy (5). In similar fashion to my [AP Computer Science students’ feedback](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/351/ap-computer-science-end-of-year-survey-results/), students found the [written feedback provided via Canvas](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/216/greatest-benefit-of-canvas/) helpful in developing their understanding of the material.

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A couple of surprises in terms of which labs students marked as their favorites. The Simple Harmonic Motion lab has students develop a mathematical model by modifying various physical characteristics of a mass on a vertical spring. I was surprised it wasn’t more popular. We also did this lab in Honors Physics (AP Physics 1) this year. I was surprised that the diffraction and interference lab was in the top 5. I don’t feel that it is one of my strongest labs, yet students disagree. No surprise that the capstone project was the run-away favorite. I will keep that in the AP Physics 2 class. I’m planning to continue to do the [CMS Masterclass](http://180.pedagoguepadawan.net/683/day-174-cms-masterclass/), which focuses on particle physics, in AP Physics 2 as well. Hopefully, we can do this as part of a field trip to Fermilab next year. We didn’t have a field trip to Fermilab this year. The most common suggestion in the section “What are some things that I should try next year?” was to have a field trip to Fermilab. I hate to lose the [Projectile Motion lab](http://180.pedagoguepadawan.net/107/107/). The only way it would be part of AP Physics 2 is if I use it as a lab for an introductory unit on computational modeling. It is too advanced for AP Physics 1 in the projectile motion unit.

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Pleased that so many students are considering pursuing STEM-related fields, but not too surprised since this is a second-year physics course.

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Strong positive feedback on standards-based assessment and reporting. Summative labs and exams were scored on a 1-5 scale. Each unit that consisted of one exam and one lab. I’m considering changing this next year and having a standard for each AP Physics 2 Essential Knowledge item grouped into categories based on each AP Physics 2 Big Ideas. I feel this will emphasize science practices and connections between concepts rather than my traditional approach focused on units and content.

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This summer I have a lot of work to do developing the new AP Physics 2 course which includes incorporating a new textbook and much more Modeling Instruction. I’ll take as much as possible from the AP Physics B course since most of it worked well the past two years. My AP Physics 2 students will also be piloting a 1:1 program (Chromebooks in the fall semester) which will require some additional preparation. AP Physics B is dead! Long live AP Physics 2!

AP Computer Science End-of-Year Survey Results

I recently reviewed the end-of-year feedback from my AP Computer Science students. This year we moved to a new textbook. Last summer, I focused on selecting new practice activities from the textbook and improving the summative labs that students complete at the end of each unit. I made the decision to invest most of my time in the development of the summative labs rather than the practice activities. My focus (and lack of focus) is evident in the feedback. In the following charts, a “1” represents strongly agree and a “5” represents strongly disagree.

I see practice activities as the aspect of the class most in need of improvement. While the feedback was largely positive, it was as positive as I would like. I believe the feedback on peer programming was a result of how I introduced, structured, and facilitated peer programming rather than a poor reflection on the methodology itself.

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The feedback on summative labs was much more positive, which is good because I put forth a lot of effort to improve those! I plan to retire the ActorBox lab which was an early introduction to GridWorld. I may do a turtle lab instead. I also need to re-evaluate the Word Search lab. The lack of popularity may be somewhat due to timing rather than the lab itself. I may look for a different lab for arrays and ArrayList. I would love to create something with more social relevance. The DrawingEditor was fairly well liked but was too much of a challenge for too many students. I may consider replacing it with the new AP Elevens lab.

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The chart is a shout out to Canvas’s Speed Grader. I sung its praises in [an earlier post](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/216/greatest-benefit-of-canvas/).

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I was surprised how many of my students were planning to major or minor in a computer-related field. I would expect about three-quarters of them would major in a STEM-related field, not solely computing related.

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I had a very simple standards-based assessment and reporting system for this class. Summative assessments were scored on a 1-5 scale. Each unit that consisted of one exam and one lab. I almost never had a conversation with students about scores or grades. Lots of conversations about computer science instead.

Screen Shot 2014 06 22 at 1 34 55 PM

My focus for this summer is to improve the practice activities by selecting fewer and selecting those that students will find more relevant. In addition, with the practice activities, I want to achieve a balance between instructor-led examples, individual development, and peer programming. I specifically want to improve my facilitation of peer programming. I also plan on developing my own slide decks instead of using those that are included with the textbook. Finally, we will be using GitHub next year and I want to move the summative labs into GitHub to provide necessary scaffolding for the students. Looking forward to next year!

AP Physics 1 Unofficial Pilot

This past school year, my colleagues and I restructured our Honors Physics course to unofficially pilot the AP Physics 1 course. This was motivated by several factors. We wanted to get a jump on the new AP Physics 1 course so that this summer we would only have to revise the course since we also have to create the new AP Physics 2 course. We wanted to create a pipeline of students prepared for the AP Physics 2 course. We also were dissatisfied with the current structure and emphasis of our existing Honors Physics course.

We’ve structured our course around Standards-Based Assessment and Reporting (a.k.a. Standards Based Grading) for many years, and we continued to do so this year. We did make some changes to the specifics. We transitioned from a binary mastery / developing mastery system to a 1-5 scoring system. All of the details are captured in [my syllabus](https://docs.google.com/document/d/196vqlKb3J6SzFSGo5JqNTssJynBj3iXXxxUr-D5hr0c/pub).

A vast majority of the units follow [Modeling Instruction](http://modelinginstruction.org) and leverage a combination of the official Modeling Instruction materials and derived versions. A notable exception is the electric circuits unit for which we leveraged a combination of [Physics by Inquiry](http://depts.washington.edu/uwpeg/pbi) materials and the [Modeling Instruction CASTLE](http://www.pasco.com/prodCatalog/EM/EM-8624_castle-kit/#overviewTab) materials. The current model is based on the Physics by Inquiry investigations and the electric pressure (voltage) model is based on the Modeling Instruction CASTLE materials.

Below are our [AP Physics 1 standards](https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iZUjDYGAIrKrTkCSv1N7m2I5RA4HlF73nGiG0x4k7bs/pub) for the 2013-2014 school year. Standards that we felt were more significant were weighted twice as much and are designated by the “B” suffix as opposed to the “A” suffix. We will certainly revise these somewhat for next year after reviewing the College Board materials, attending AP workshops, and integrating our new textbook.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with how the AP Physics 1 pilot class was and what our students learned. The incorporation of Modeling Instruction; focus on in-depth, guided inquiry-based experiments; peer instruction-style discussion and debate of conceptual questions; and a great team of teachers with which to collaborate were the keys for the successful year.

Physics Capstones

This year’s AP Physics B capstones were as great as [last year’s](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/214/capstones/). Click there to read more about how I structure capstones.

* Joe’s [GravitON – A Python based N-Body Gravity Simulator](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/19347). Cleanly implemented and well documented VPython implementation of the n-body problem. Can’t wait until Joe offloads process to the GPU!
* Danny’s [Resistance Bands vs Free Weights](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/19350/Home/Introduction). A well-designed experiment to model resistance bands.
* Andrew’s [Amateur Kitchen Rocketry](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/16476/Capstone__Semester_1/Kitchen_Rocketry). Very creative. Have you ever considered building an olive-oil-powered rocket?
* Helen’s [Springboard Diving](Amateur Kitchen Rocketry). Great video analysis and fantastic video interviews of coaches and divers.
* Matt’s [Pony Physics](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/19088): Very creative and thorough exploration of the physics of My Little Pony.
* Andrew’s [Rifle Toss](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/16531/Home/Rifle_Toss_Capstone): wonderful application of more advanced physics to determine the energy needed for an 8-rotation rifle toss. (Web page struggles to display the equations; refer to PDF at the bottom.)
* Nathan’s [Physics of Intonation](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/16516/CAPSTONE_PROJECT): answers the question “how important is it to play in tune?” Includes a Python script that calculates superposition and a great Minute Physics-style video.
* Nathan’s [Putt Simulator](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/16498/Capstone): Models the motion of a golf ball on a generated surface. Incredible application of calculus and computational modeling. (Requires Python, VPython, and Matplotlib.)
* Michael’s [Tunnel to the Center of the Earth](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/19247/Home/Introduction): Wonderful Minute Physics-style video supported by Excel-based computational models. Cites Rhett Allain’s [How Long Would It Take to Fall through the Earth](http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/how-long-would-it-take-to-fall-through-the-earth/), solves Rhett’s homework, and then assigns his own.

Based on feedback from students, I’m going to make a one change for next year. Several students actively peer reviewed each other’s capstones. This was fantastic and improved the quality. I wanted to make this a required activity next year.

I think this year’s class benefited from seeing examples from last year’s class. Now that I have a diverse collection of excellent capstones to share, students have an easier time understanding what a capstone is and how to present it in an engaging manner.

Honors Physics Changes

Several factors combined into a perfect storm that set the stage to make major changes to our Honors Physics course. One, last year was rough and several aspects of class were disappointing. I’m not going to dwell on those here. Two, we have an extra section of Honors Physics this upcoming year and another physics teacher will join my colleague and I in teaching Honors Physics. She is a really good influence on us! Three, we want to pilot the AP Physics 1 course to prepare for the first official year of AP Physics 1/2 in 2014-2015 and prime a pipeline of students ready for AP Physics 2. As a result, we are changing almost every aspect of this course.

First is the curriculum. We are aligning our curriculum to that of AP Physics 1. This changes the emphasis from content to understanding and skills. As a result, we will finally be able to implement [Modeling Instruction](http://modelinginstruction.org/) in Honors Physics! The shift to Modeling Instruction, which we have been using in General Physics for a few years, will have a tremendous impact on these students. We are also taking some of the most successful aspects of my AP Physics B course and incorporating them into Honors Physics. We will have formative quizzes for each unit and we will have peer instruction to focus on conceptual understanding.

This change in curriculum and pedagogy required us to redefine all of our units and materials. All new standards, in-class packets, quizzes, lab activities, lab practicums, and exams. Fortunately, we didn’t have to create too many materials from scratch. We started with Kelly O’Shea’s [Honors Physics Standards](http://kellyoshea.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/honors-physics-2012-objectives/). We used worksheets from the Modeling Workshop along with portions of Kelly’s packets. We used peer instruction questions I compiled for AP Physics B. We combined quiz and exam questions from a variety of sources. We kept our favorite labs and found or created new ones.

We are also trying to incorporate and emphasize certain themes throughout the course. One is growth mindset. Reading Dr. Carol Dweck’s book [Mindset](http://www.amazon.com/Mindset-The-New-Psychology-Success/dp/0345472322/) and Daniel Coyle’s [The Talent Code](http://www.amazon.com/The-Talent-Code-Greatness-Grown/dp/055380684X/) this summer, helped me to find the commonality of behaviors and attitudes that some physics students, especially honors physics students, have that make them really struggle in the course. I prepared a mini-lesson (upcoming post) to introduce the concepts of fixed vs. growth mindset and deep practice. Another area of focus will be measurement uncertainty in labs. While we have a good set of [measurement uncertainty activities](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/198/updated-measurement-uncertainty-activities/), we don’t sufficiently reinforce these concepts throughout the year. At the most recent QuarkNet Workshop at Fermilab, we heard and discussed how critical it was for students to understand and appreciate the concept of measurement uncertainty.

A good sign that we are on the right track for this revamped Honors Physics course is that I’m excited and looking forward to this class this year. Without these changes, I don’t think I would be saying that….

AP Physics B Reflections and Plans for Next Year

*I’ve been collecting my thoughts on this past year throughout the summer. Since I’m about to start a new school year, now is a good time to review these reflections and share my thoughts and plans for the upcoming year.*

This past year was the first year that we officially offered AP Physics B. In previous years, I’ve taught a one-semester Advanced Physics course which covered those topics that are part of the AP Physics B curriculum that were not covered in Honors Physics. So, while a full-year class was new, the content was familiar. Another significant difference between the old Advanced Physics course and the AP Physics B course was the pace and the prior background of the students. Advanced Physics moved at a lightening pace with no review of topics previously covered in Honors Physics. The AP Physics B course, covers all topics that are part of the curriculum, even those covered in previous physics classes. This allows students that have previously taken either General Physics or Honors Physics to be successful in the class. I was pleased that about a third of the students enrolled in AP Physics B had taken General Physics the previous year.

I tried several new ideas in AP Physics B. Based on student feedback, the most successful activity was peer instruction. I specifically followed the techniques in the article [Combining Peer Discussion with Instructor Explanation Increases Student Learning from In-Class Concept Questions](http://www.lifescied.org/content/10/1/55.abstract) to maximize the effectiveness. All questions selected were conceptual. I found that conceptual questions lead to more lively discussions among students and, historically, my students have struggled more with conceptual questions than quantitative problem solving questions. The questions were a combination of Paul Hewitt’s [Next-Time Questions](http://www.arborsci.com/Labs/CP_NTQ.aspx) and clicker question banks from [University of Colorado Boulder](http://www.colorado.edu/physics/EducationIssues/cts/index.htm) and [Ohio State University](http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~physedu/clicker/). I started using clickers from Turning Technologies, but transitioned to the [Nearpod app](http://www.nearpod.com) on iPads. Students preferred the Nearpod app since they could read the questions off their screen rather than off the projected screen. I was very pleased with the level of student engagement, discussion, and debate during these peer instruction activities. I will continue peer instruction next year and we are expanding its use to our revamped Honors Physics class this upcoming year as well.

While students shared that peer instruction was the most effective class activity, their favorite activity was the capstone. I previously [shared the capstone projects](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/214/capstones/). We will do capstones at the end of the fall semester again this coming year. In addition, we will be doing capstones at the end of the spring semester in the revamped Honors Physics class.

Another significant change was providing one or two quizzes for each unit. Feedback from students in Honors Physics and [insights by other physics teachers](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/177/help-sbar-challenges/#comment-4180) to a previous post, helped me to realize students needed additional formative assessments in order to accurate measure their understanding of the current unit. These quizzes were scored by the students in class (not for a grade), which provided insight into how AP problems were scored, and copies of solutions were immediately distributed. Often, I would collect the scored exams to flip through them and note which students were struggling and which concepts needed additional class time. I believe these quizzes worked well since they provided students with a clear and immediate feedback as to whether their level of understanding was where it should be well before the unit exam. As a result, fewer students needed to take advantage of reassessment opportunities after unit exams in AP Physics B than in Honors Physics. These formative quizzes are another activity that we will be incorporating in the revamped Honors Physics class this upcoming year.

The fourth new activity I introduced in AP Physics B was [computational modeling](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/218/computational-modeling-with-vpython/). For most of units that focused on mechanics, we explored and extended computational models. We had mixed success with computational modeling. Several students struggled to come up the learning curve with the limited amount of class time that we dedicated. The most successful activity was using [VPython to model projectile motion](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/204/projectile-motion-lab-practicum-and-computational-modeling/) for an early lab. This activity was successful because of the additional time provided and the clear utility of using the computational model to solve a problem not easily solved in other ways. Despite the mixed success, I’m going to continue exposing my AP Physics B students to computational modeling. I may be a bit more selected in which units we explore the models and perhaps spend more time on those specific models.

Looking ahead to the upcoming year, I’m going to change very little. Overall, I’m very pleased with how last year went. In addition, we are making major changes to Honors Physics (upcoming post) and I’ve made [a lot of changes](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/283/ap-computer-science-reflections-and-plans-for-next-year/) to AP Computer Science. Next summer, I’ll restructure AP Physics B into the new AP Physics 2 class; so, I’ll wait until then to make any major changes.

AP Computer Science Reflections and Plans for Next Year

I’ve been collecting my thoughts on this past year throughout the summer. Since I’m about to start a new school year, now is a good time to review these reflections and share my thoughts and plans for the upcoming year.

Last year was the first time that I taught AP Computer Science. Based on my experience teaching Physics, I appreciated the significant difference between content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. I spent the year building my pedagogical content knowledge and trying various types of activities to determine which would be most effective. I expanded my network of computer science teachers throughout the year and attended a couple of great workshops this summer: the [AP Annual Conference](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/260/ap-computer-science-preconference-workshop/) and the [Tapestry Workshop](http://www.cs.virginia.edu/tapestry/).

One aspect of the class that did not work well was the textbook. The textbook was old (it didn’t cover Java 5 features) and didn’t align with my personal teaching preferences (I’m a strong object-oriented proponent and start objects first). We stopped using the textbook after the first couple chapters. My department chair was super supportive and I was able to purchase [Cay Horstmann’s Java Concepts](http://bcs.wiley.com/he-bcs/Books?action=index&bcsId=7875&itemId=111843112X) book for the upcoming year. I spent a lot of time this summer creating units, choosing questions, and selecting programming activities based on the new text, but it will be well worth it.

Students spent most of class time working on programming activities. These activities were small in scope, focused on a specific concept, and not graded. They were formative assessments. I spent most of class time visiting students, asking questions, and providing direction without being too helpful. Perhaps my favorite part of this class was that I had the opportunity almost every day to talk individually with every student and directly observe their work. This upcoming year, I hope to spend even more time on these programming assignments. I hope that with the better textbook, I can minimize lecture and notes and just focus on highlighting key aspects the assigned reading and discussing questions that the students have after having read the chapter.

One part of class that worked out very well, was providing [choice in the programming activities](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/212/differentiation-and-choice-in-programming-activities/). My students were fairly diverse in both interest and background knowledge. Providing them with a variety of programming assignments, all focused on the same concept, but of varying degrees of difficulty and application, allowed each student to challenge themselves and yet be successful. I stumbled upon this by accident when I was unable to decide which of three programming activities would be the best. I decided to offer all three and was surprised at increased level of interest as students chose their favorite. While I’m changing most of the programming assignments this upcoming year, I consciously defined sets of programming assignments to provide students with choice.

Related to these topics of choice and diversity, I quickly realized last year that some students would complete a programming assignment in 10 minutes while others would need an entire class period. Again, by accident or intuition, when I first encountered this diversity, I spontaneously created an extension of the programming activity to challenge student who finished quickly. After that, I made an effort to define extensions to most of the programming activities. I also encouraged students to explore their own extensions. I will offer some of these to this year’s class. Throughout the year, these extensions were generalized into the idea of “add more awesome.” As students finished the base assignment, they would start to “add more awesome” without direction.

While I’m changing most of the programming assignments, many of the summative programming labs will remain the same. The programming labs are submitted for scoring and involve significant effort compared to the programming assignments. We will continue to do the [Game of Life](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/202/the-game-of-life-and-grid-world/) lab, [Media Computation](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/279/media-computation-collages/), [Fractal Trees](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/241/fractal-tree-lab/), and [Capstone projects](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/281/computer-science-capstones/). A few labs will be new. For example, we will try a [Word Search](https://sites.google.com/a/stuycs.org/home/courses/ml1x/zamansky/work/hw-20-duetbd) lab from Stuyvesant High School.

There are a couple of new ideas that I found lacking last year that we will try this year. I want students to have more experience with [Test Driven Development](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test-driven_development) and unit testing with [JUnit](https://github.com/junit-team/junit/wiki). I also want students to present their work to their peers; specifically, their capstone projects. While there was plenty of interaction among pairs of students last year, I didn’t provide an opportunity for students to present to all their peers.

My final focus for the upcoming year is applying some of what I learned at the Tapestry Workshop to increase the number of female students and under-represented minorities in computer science. Some of these efforts will be outside of class focused on administrators and counselors, but others will be in the classroom. Everything from my choice of programming activities to the decor of the lab can reduce stereotype threats. I hope to see a change in enrollment of the coming years!

Computer Science Capstones

During the spring semester, before we started reviewing for the AP Computer Science exam, we spent a week working on capstone projects. These capstone projects were inspired by and modeled after the [capstone projects](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/214/capstones/) I did earlier with my AP Physics B class. I introduced the capstone project as follows:

Our final project for the year is a capstone. Capstones must do the following:

* Show synthesis of multiple concepts in unfamiliar situations. A capstone requires you to use more than one idea to solve a problem, and it isn’t just a rehashing of work you’ve already done.
* Show initiative. A capstone isn’t just your teacher telling you what to do. It is you unleashing your curiosity to discover what you want to do.
* Are open ended. Capstones don’t have ends. You should always feel like you could dig deeper and discover more if you had more time.
* Are public. Capstones are not private projects you share only with your teacher. They are public endeavors that you share with the class and the world at large. Successful capstones require you to collaborate with classmates.
* Involve significant revision. No one gets it right the first time, no first draft is perfect, and you must plan accordingly. A capstone will not be eligible for grading by me until it has undergone at least one revision.

Ideas that may generate a spark:

* GUI applications
* numerical methods
* simulations
* games
* data analysis
* databases
* multi-threaded programing
* network programming
* AI algorithms
* audio/video processing
* 3D graphics

I used the following scoring rubric:

Download (PDF, 37KB)

Students pursued a wide variety of capstones. The links display their portfolio where they have described their capstones in more detail and have a link to download the source. Here are some:

* [JavaChess](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/14768/Home/Home) by Nathan L: a GridWorld-based, two-person chess game
* [Super Tic-Tac-Toe](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/14766/Home/Welcome) by Matthew W: a Java implementation of Super Tic-Tac-Toe
* [Doge Defender](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/14781/Home/Dodge_Defender) by Max B: a sophisticated arcade-style game with multiple levels and sound
* [Cat Fountain](https://naperville.instructure.com/eportfolios/14769?view=preview) by Jessica H: an app that displays cats spewing from a fountain; strange and surpringly addicting to watch

I only planned for a week to complete these capstones, which really wasn’t enough. As a result, students didn’t have the opportunity for significant revision. This coming year, I’m going to plan for two weeks. The other change I’ll make is that I’m going to have students present their capstone to their peers in class. My class this past year was definitely lacking in terms of opportunities for students to present to others. Despite these shortcomings, students were very engaged and created some fantastic software.

Media Computation Collages

One of my, and my students’, favorite projects this past year was a series of activities based on [Mark Guzdial and Barabara Ericson’s](http://coweb.cc.gatech.edu/mediaComp-teach) book [Introduction to Computing & Programming with Java: A Multimedia Approach](http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Computing-Programming-Java-Multimedia/dp/0131496980). I read their book over winter break and decided that it would be a great way to get back into the swing of things after break (no pun intended). Before winter break, we made it through arrays and the media computation project was a great review when we came back in January. While the book covers pictures, sound, and movies, we just focused on pictures.

We worked through several activities, focusing on filters and transformations. The students enjoyed seeing that they could write programs that performed some of the same features as Photoshop. The unit concluded with a collage project in which students combined several of their filters and transformations into a final and unique image.

I was extremely pleased to see that [one of the new AP Computer Science labs](https://pedagoguepadawan.net/263/ap-annual-conference-a-first-look-at-the-labs-for-ap-computer-science-a/), Picture Lab, was developed by Barbara Ericson and is based on her book. I think this new lab will bring an authentic and engaging series of activities to a wider audience.

Here are some of the collages that my students created last year.


Li raymond late 2784455 25010819 collage

Lindquist nathan 2773682 25010244 collage

Truong brian late 1367561 25010797 nairb s nyan cat thingy

Wang larry 2782126 25010473 NoctisFinalPicture

Zhou tony late 2762744 25051039 collage3

AP Annual Conference: Formative Assessment in the AP Science Classroom

**Formative Assessment in the AP Science Classroom**

*Ryan Fedewa, Stevenson High School*

*I attended this session to learn different approaches for formative assessments that could be applied to all AP Science courses; not just physics. While Standards Based Grading (SBG) wasn’t explicitly mentioned, some aspects of the presenters formative assessments would align. I would imagine a tool like [BlueHarvest](http://main.blueharvestfeedback.com) would also work well.*

* 5 Formative Assessment characteristics
* the provision of effective feedback to students
* the active involvement of student in their own learning
* the adjustment of teaching to take into account the results of the assessment
* the recognition of the profound influence assessment has on the motivation and self-esteems of students, both of which are critical influences on learning
* the need for students to be able to assess themselves and understand how to improve
* “We’re going to let our students know where they’re at, and let them know how they can improve from there.”
* Example Tools
* [SurveyMonkey.com](SurveyMonkey.com)
* [PollEverywhere.com](PollEverywhere.com)
* [Mastery Manager](http://www.masterymanager.com)
* administered weekly 5-10 question multiple choice quiz as the source of the data
* also included unit exams and final exam (but will exclude final exam next year)
* plan to incorporate practice AP exams and practice ACT exams
* tagged each question with a science skill as well as a science content area
* College Board Science Practices work well as tags