|Andy Rundquistfirstname.lastname@example.org||Robbins Science 124||651-252-1778|
Hamline Mythbusters, Winter 2017
This course is an experimental 1980 course and so the language is not in the bulletin.
Goals: To learn about and execute scientific investigations of everyday activities in order to find whether common assumptions about them are true.
Content: Whole class, team-based, and individual investigations into various scientific myths. Students will produce videos akin to the “Mythbusters” approach and will produce individual writing that demonstrates an understanding of the ramifications of taking concepts to the maximum possible level. Students will also produce writing intended for a very low-level audience, exploring the limitations and opportunities available in scientific writing.
These are all of the outcomes for the physics major. However some still apply for a non-science-major course like this. Those in bold are what are introduced/reinforced/assessed in this course
Students will demonstrate a thorough understanding of general and modern physics.
(BS only) Students will demonstrate a fundamental understanding of advanced physics topics.
Students will design, perform and interpret an insightful physics experiment.
Students will communicate physical concepts and experimental details.
Students will collaborate as part of a scientific team.
Students will apply math and technology tools to problem solving.
(BS only) Students will demonstrate the ability to model a physical system using current computational and analytical techniques.
Demonstrate ability to use and reflect upon fundamental skills and approaches* of the given field/discipline. *perspectives, methods of inquiry, tools and terminology, theories, interpretive frameworks, technologies, assumption, and/or epistemologies.
Ways to contact me:
Note that for all but the final drafts you will receive video feedback from me for all of these assignments.
You will investigate myths with your team. The final product is a video to be posted on YouTube in the style of the Discovery Channel show called “Mythbusters.” For each myth you should:
Each team needs to check in with me via video submitted twice per week (due at the end of the day on lab days (Tuesdays and Thurdays). The check ins should explain:
Every Wednesday in class we will have “hole poking” days where members of your team will fan out to learn about what other teams are up to and to try to poke holes in the other teams’ plans. Each day one member of the team will be responsible for presenting the plan to the emissaries from other teams. That person will be visited by emissaries from up to 4 other teams and that group will try to find problems with the plan. Each of those groups will collect issues that should be discussed with the whole class and we will spend the last half hour discussing those issues as a whole class.
To demonstrate your mastery of the science involved in particular myths you will each individually produce a “What If”-type blog post where you will take the issues to a ludicrous degree. This should be at least 1000 words and should include appropriate images you create and links along with footnotes (see the style of the blog).
Drafts are due weekly (on Tuesdays). On those days you will work with at most 2 other people to determine holes in your approach and to brainstorm new directions to identify. You need to bring a paper draft of your What If scenario every Tuesday and it will be turned in with the accumulated notes of those who’ve read it in class.
The post will be assessed using the writing rubric.
To demonstrate your mastery of scientific communication you will produce a document intended to explain the science or apparatus used in one of your team myths (no two team members can do the same topic). The twist is that you can only use ten hundred most used words in the English language (note that “thousand” is not in that list). This was made famous by Randall Monroe’s explanation of the Saturn five rocket.
Drafts are due weekly (on Thursdays). On those days you will work with at most 2 other people to determine holes in your approach and to brainstorm new directions to identify. You need to bring a paper draft of your 10 100 report every Thursday (not counting the first one) and it will be turned in with the accumulated notes of those who’ve read it in class.
This will be assessed using the writing rubric.
Every Monday will be a debate day. A topic will be assigned the day before that is or was controversial in the science community. You need to identify and read two publically available sources on each side of the controversy to prepare for the debate. Teams will be formed and we will hold a formal debate between the two side where only evidence from the identified sources can be used. To ensure this, everything must be a direct quote from the sources. The grade will be a participation score determined by the instructor
Every Friday will be an estimation day. You will be told to work with randomized teams to determine a reasonable estimate of a size or number of a common physical quantity. Access to the internet will be restricted on desert island days. The grade will be determined by how close you are to the actual number.
Much of this was inspired by/copied from Frank Noschese's work on SBG
Note: Not assessed: 0
I will use the English department’s rubric.
Each group will assess the group members on how well they contributed to the team. Each group is given points to divvy among the members. Getting 10 provides full credit for this. You must use integers and you can use both numbers greater than 10 and negative numbers. The total number of points available is four times the number of members plus one. Here's a blog post about this.
This is the rubric for the video
rounded score >=
In class we will develop the tools needed to do the three main assignments. We will typically break into groups to work on various aspects of any new tools we’re developing. Groups will use large whiteboards to record their progress and to report back to the larger group. The groups in class will be assigned randomly each day, while the teams for the mythbusting will be set once (likely the second day).
There is no formal attendance policy. However, new expectations for the three assignments will be constantly added throughout the class and all students are expected to recognize those. Quite often the mythbusting teams will use portions of class time to do further planning.
We will watch the main YouTube videos on the day of the final (that’s also the day all final drafts are due). During the term random and standing teams will often be asked to give informal presentations in front of class. These are not graded but are used to foster further dialog about the topics and tools we’re discussing.
There is no formalized lab assignments. Instead lab times are when I will be available to help the mythbuster teams with equipment and brainstorming.