Integrated math and physics for entry to undergraduate stem
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Integrated Math and Physics for Entry to Undergraduate STEM. David Wick & Michael Ramsdell Clarkson University (Physics) Katie Fowler & Peter Turner Clarkson University (Mathematics). Environmental Problems Sustainability Issues Technology Explosion Massive Amounts of Data Medicine

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Integrated Math and Physics for Entry to Undergraduate STEM

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Integrated Math and Physics for Entry to Undergraduate STEM

David Wick& Michael Ramsdell

Clarkson University (Physics)

Katie Fowler & Peter TurnerClarkson University (Mathematics)

Environmental Problems

Sustainability Issues

Technology Explosion

Massive Amounts of Data



We need an innovative workforce to create solutions to problems which are today unimaginable

Motivation: National Need YOU CAN HELP

School Year Program

Career/college information

Research project-conference participation

Roller coaster design competition

Graduate/Undergraduate Fellows

Campus visits /workshops

Mentoring and Tutoring

Cyber-learning environment

Roller Coaster Camp

Teacher Professional Development

Program Components

Unifying Theme

  • Integrating Math, Science, and

    Technology education through

    • Problem and project-based learning

    • Enhanced teacher-student understanding of the role and importance of STEM careers

    • Challenge students and teachers

Roller Coaster Camp

  • Six-Day Camp for Grades 7-12

  • Five days at Clarkson University

  • “Company Structure”

    • - Concept Engineers (7-8)

    • - Design Engineers (9-10)

    • - Safety Engineers (11-12)

  • One day at Great Escape

Crazy Coasters Design Co.

-Slogan -Logo

Cool Creations

Shameless Safety

Dangerous Designs

Archie Ringlepox

Dimple McGee

Barney Bing

Dudley Doorknob

Skip Tipster

Charlie Snorkel

Buster Bowtie


Concept Engineers

(“Roller Coaster Architects”)

Concept Design, Drawing to Scale

  • Task: Design a Roller Coaster to scale that contains the following elements:

    • - Start Segment (Hill)

    • - Loop

    • - Corkscrew

    • - Mystery (?)

    • - End Segment

Design Engineers

(“Kinematics Specialists”)

Roller Coaster Design

Task: Modify the design for each segment to make the ride realistic.

Will the riders make it to the end of the track?

Safety Engineers

(“It’s all your fault Engineers”)

Safety Analysis: Is this a safe design? Will the riders pass out?

Task: Modify the design for each segment to make the ride exciting, physically possible, and safe.

- Calculate accelerations (g’s)

- Check critical points

…There’s safety in numbers!

VRC Decoder Puzzle

What is the name of the unknown segment in the simulated Roller Coaster ride?

Barrel Roll

Collect altitude and acceleration data!

Saturday: Final Day and Awards Ceremony…

Final Presentations!

Final Jeopardy –

Can you say “Mooooo?”

Final Challenges!

In-School IMPETUS Program

Three primary after school activities for

students, coaches, and CU fellows:

1) Roller Coaster Design Contest (Grades 7-12)

2) Research Projects (Grades 9-12)

3) After School Competitions (Grades 7-12)

- Students and coaches meet once per week.

- Clarkson student fellows go to schools at least once per month.

Roller Coaster Design Contest

Design and build a working roller coaster model that will transport a ½ in. diameter steel ball or glass marble safely (using the AAPT design guidelines).

Use low cost materials such as wood, wire, string, twine, doweling, toothpicks, cardboard, construction paper, glue, tape, etc.


Roller Coaster Design Contest


Campus Visits

  • Pi-Day

  • National Science and Engineering Festival

  • Career planning

  • College preparation information

  • Tutoring

Original Student Research

  • Local Competition

    • Part of afterschool program

    • CU visit showcase

  • Statewide Student Conference

    • Albany, NY each March

    • Research poster competition (roughly 500 students)

    • Student-driven professional development workshops

    • Inspirational speakers!

    • Networking across NY State!

    • FUN!

Success Stories!

  • 3rd place, An Investigation of Floor Characteristics and Exposure Time on Bacterial Transfer (Canton CSD, 2008),

  • 1st place, Facial Features and the Human Response (Norwood Norfolk CSD, 2009), and

  • 3rd place, Effects of Magnetic Fields on Living Organisms, (Norwood Norfolk CSD, 2010).

  • 2nd place, Where’s the Body, (Canton CSD, 2011)

  • 2nd place, Who Spends More Time on Cell Phones, Boys or Girls, (Harrisville, 2012)

Promote Competitions!

  • (6-8th grade) We can provide additional student help to coach students both in person and online!

  • Team of 4 kids plus 2 individuals

  • We will pay for the registration fee (February competition)

  • Moody’s Mega Math Challenge

    • (10-12 grade) Teams of 3 work for ~8 hours on an open-ended problem

    • We can provide facilities and support

    • Registration is FREE!


  • Science Olympiad!

  • Personalized 8th Grade Tutoring


    • Clarkson Student Mentors visit bi-weekly

    • Khan academy personalized goal system

      • Show proficiency, level-up, remain challenged!

    • Linked to Common Core!

    • Extendable to other subjects!

      • Regents prep

      • Science exams

    • Accessible from anywhere with internet access

    Thank You for Listening!Stay connected! Katie Fowler kfowler@clarkson.eduDavid Wick dwick@clarkson.eduMike Ramsdell ramsdemw@clarkson.eduGail Gotham ggotham@sllboces.orgMary Margaret Small mmsmall@clarkson.eduDiane Brouwer

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