Congratulations to Prof. Chris Orban’s STEMcoding project (u.osu.edu/stemcoding) which recently received a $25k grant from the American Institute of Physics (AIP). The AIP Meggers Project Award is a biennial award “designed to fund projects for the improvement of high school teaching in the United States”. Prof. Orban’s proposal “Bringing the Hour of Code to the High School Physics Classroom” described an effort to develop coding tutorial videos aimed at the high school level, and free training sessions for high school physics teachers to learn to code. The Meggers award funds are in addition to $40k of funding the STEMcoding project received from OSU’s Connect & Collaborate program through the office of outreach.
Prof. Orban began as a professor at OSU’s Marion campus in 2014. With a background in computational physics and high performance computing, Prof. Orban immediately began integrating coding into freshman physics courses at OSU Marion. “The students enjoyed the coding activities so much”, said Orban, “that I started thinking about letting high school teachers use them, and talking to Dr. Kathy Harper in OSU engineering education to get in touch with some of the best physics teachers in the state.”
With feedback from teachers to inspire new exercises and improvements, in 2016 Prof. Orban began working with the ASPIRE physics camp for high school girls to provide physics-focused coding activities. The activities were a hit, and a popular choice when the girls got to select one project for extra project time. The Meggers grant will provide ASPIRE with an extra $1000 in funding for next summer.
This fall Prof. Orban recorded coding tutorial videos on “The Physics of Video Games” with astronomy major Demetrius Tuggle (image left). These video tutorials were submitted to the Hour of Code and were recently approved and posted to hourofcode.com/learn which is the world’s most popular computer science education website. The STEMcoding activity is essentially the first physics-focused coding activity on the site. A direct link to the STEMcoding activity is available here: go.osu.edu/hourofcode.
Prof. Orban also collaborates on the STEMcoding project with Dr. Chris Porter in the Physics Education Research group and Dr. Richelle Teeling-Smith, an OSU physics alum who is now a professor at the University of Mt. Union in Alliance, Ohio. Teachers and educators wishing to learn more about the STEMcoding project should contact Prof. Orban directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.