New Article in The Physics Teacher, New Software, New Curriculum, New Summer Workshop, and More!

Much has happened in the two years since I last posted to this blog.

  • After input from users, the software to run the robots was re-written and updated with new features.
  • The Science House at North Carolina State sponsored a summer workshop through their summer modeling institute program.  It was attended by almost a dozen experience North Carolina modeling teachers, who went through every activity alternating in student and teacher modes modeling workshop fashion and gave it a thorough critique.  Every single activity was revised based on their input, new exercises were added and the sequence was altered to be more effective.
  • The updated full curriculum is available from the American Modeling Teachers Association at, and for AMTA members it is also available in the resource section of the members area.
  • My article, The Maiden Voyage of a Kinematics Robot was published by the American Association of Physics Teachers in The Physics Teacher.  It outlines the whole project, including a summary of the new curriculum sequence and a brief description of some of the activities.
  • The Science House has agreed to hold a workshop in late July this summer as well.  Unlike last summer’s workshop that was funded through a DOE grant, this workshop will cost about $600 (including two robots and software), but is also open to participants from outside of North Carolina.  Low cost housing is available on the NC State campus.

Future plans include the design of a robot dedicated to this project that will be faster, more precise and hopefully lower cost.  It will initially be available just as plans, then perhaps a kit and in the distant future perhaps as a complete robot.  In addition, I will be re-writing and upgrading the motor driver for the robot and the graphical user interface.  Finally, I hope to extend the use of robotic physics apparatus that takes advantage of control of error to other areas of the introductory physics curriculum.

Please stay tuned for information about further developments, blog posts about the revised robot activities and their use in class, and more specifics about the summer workshop as they become available.

For now, please continue to contact me via e-mail at to purchase software.  I hope to have an online store attached to this blog at some point in the future.

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