Electromagnetic Fields

Electromagnetic Fields (known colloquially as EMF) is a semester long elective Physics course offering students who are studying advanced Physics (BC) concurrently.

The most useful thing I learned was probably that everything takes more time than planned; even a simple five minute video can take hours to plan, film and of course, edit. The more time you spend planning ahead,
the easier each part will be. Eleventh Grade STUDENT

Program

A rigorous calculus-based course, EMF targets the conceptual, mathematical and experimental aspects of electric and magnetic fields. This year the sole junior in this class used the last seven days of class to learn about basic electric circuits, a topic which we had not covered in class before Senior Projects. Ilya studied resistors and capacitors; he solved standard problems and worked through two comprehensive experiments. To assess his understanding and mastery of this material, Ilya made two educational videos, one on resistors and the other on capacitors. Requirements for the videos included filming himself as he presented the information, writing a relevant problem, and then solving it using appropriate circuit equations.

Instructional Technology Coordinator Mark Singleton introduced Ilya to OmniDazzle (annotating software) and Camtasia (screen recorder). He also gave him helpful tips to make the videos engaging and visually appealing, such as using spotlight focus and zoom to highlight various sections of the slide.

Teacher Reflection

THIS VIDEO PROJECT PROVIDED ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE AN ALTERNATIVE ASSESSMENT FORMAT.

Certainly I could have written a traditional test on resistors and capacitors in basic electric circuits and no doubt Ilya would have done well on it. However, thinking about how to clearly explain a particular aspect of the topic and/or solving a problem with good documentation required Ilya to thoroughly understand the material. Using state-of-the-art software and computer technology certainly made it more fun than solving problems on a test!

This project is technically rich. In a week’s time, Ilya became comfortable applying RC circuit theory in an experiment which used a Vernier voltage probe for data collection and Logger-Pro software for data analysis. He also learned how to make a video of himself, annotated his presentation and made it visually engaging. The assignment asks the student to thoughtfully use Internet resources. For instance, one project requirement is to use at least three images during the presentation; given the plethora of Google images available, Ilya had to make choices based on purpose and clarity.

Another reason I like this project is that it allowed Ilya to practice his public speaking skills as many times as he wanted until he was happy with the final product. I believe this absence of pressure provided a safe zone for him to showcase comfortable mastery of the topic and his humor (his high-voltage sign discussion comes to mind).

And finally, I enjoyed the collaborative nature of this project. It was fun and intellectually stimulating to work with Mr. Singleton; different strengths and different perspectives coming together to help Ilya produce his best possible video within the time allotted.

Please do click on one or both of these videos. It is quite remarkable what Ilya accomplished in the last seven days of class time and homework.

Mita Forsyth, Upper School Physics

Student Reflection

THE MOST USEFUL THING I LEARNED WAS PROBABLY THAT EVERYTHING TAKES MORE TIME THAN PLANNED; EVEN A SIMPLE FIVE MINUTE VIDEO CAN TAKE HOURS TO PLAN, FILM AND OF COURSE, EDIT. THE MORE TIME YOU SPEND PLANNING AHEAD, THE EASIER EACH PART WILL BE.

I definitely think this activity helped me learn more than others we’ve done in class. In class, the emphasis is on learning for yourself, but here it was to learn and then be able to teach it to others. As a result, my understanding had to be much stronger, keeping in mind the end goal of being able to explain it to someone else.

I found this project fun and intellectually stimulating! While following my intellectual curiosity, I often stumble upon cool Youtube videos that explain everything from what happened during the war of 1812 to why resistance affects the brightness of a lightbulb. It was very exciting to actually make the videos I thought were so cool, and learn and do all the different parts of the project.

Eleventh Grade Student

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