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It’s time for the journal of physics capstone research

September 27, 2011

Today, I saw this tweet from Brian Carpenter:

to which I replied:

And then it started:

If you don’t know what a capstone is, I think it started with this post. Capstones are small, open-ended, student initiated, public projects that synthesize multiple concepts.

And here’s where it gets awesome. Look at the classes involved so far:

  • My classes of 9th grade honors physics students at large private co-ed school in Atlanta
  • Brian Carpenters’s senior AP students at a small all-girls school in Ohio
  • Frank Noschese’s 11th and 12th grade physics and AP physics students at a public school in New York
  • Brian Frank’s college-age elementary education students. (I’m assuming when he finally gets back on twitter he’s going to find this so awesome that he jumps on board).

And we’re just getting started. Think how cool it will be for a 9th grader to see the work an AP student is doing in Ohio? Or how amazing it will be for a elementary ed student to see the kind of work students can do in their senior year in New York? What connections will we make between ideas? Isn’t this why they created science journals in the first place? To share ideas?

So that’s what we need, an online journal of physics capstones (and a much better name). So now let me offer this proposal to flesh out the idea further.

  • Students continue to work on their capstones in whatever medium they are working on them now (personal wordpress blogs, posterous, google docs, etc).
  • When a studnet and teacher decide that a capstone is ready to be “published” to the journal, the student writes an abstract and submits a photo and a link to the capstone post (and maybe a brief bio?) to the journal. Yes—we just made abstracts useful for science class.
  • The journal is a wordpress blog running some sort of magazine theme—I like this one, but am totally open to your suggestions.

That’s it. It looks like the only thing that would need to be done is set up the wordpress site, which would need to be self-hosted in order to allow the use of the custom theme. Luckily I have site5 account where I host my wordpress network site for my class, and I’d be happy to host the capstone site. We could even make it super snazzy and register a domain for $10.

So what do you think? Could we make a go of this?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. September 28, 2011 6:25 am

    That is some snazzy stuff. I’m going to pass this post along to my supervisor. We have a magnet “Science & Engineering” program in my building (20-25 students) who take a double period of “Senior Research” where I believe they are required to complete 3-4 projects over the course of the year. As it stands right now, the course is meant to be a capstone to their entire specialized program.

    I bet they’d bring a lot to the table. Even moreso if I end up teaching that section next year.

  2. September 28, 2011 1:17 pm

    Ahem… Add my AP Physics C class! 🙂

  3. September 28, 2011 2:03 pm

    Count me in!

  4. September 29, 2011 6:59 am

    I’ve been “meaning to” start a local high school science journal for students for a long time–looking for these kind of “capstone” projects or simply higher-level lab writeups in the general style of a scientific journal article.

    Your idea sounds interesting…can I play too?

  5. dgende permalink
    September 29, 2011 2:37 pm

    Ready to participate with my 9th grade Honors Physics class!


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