Calculators

There has been a lot going. One of those things has been coding. I have been trying in my spare time to update my science website with new calculators for the students to use in their studies. These calculators are meant to provide a resource that allows them to check answers or even answer randomly-generated questions.

I had created a heat equation calculator last year for my honors class. Unfortunately, I hadn’t finished it before the unit was complete, but this year the students were able to make use of it. I wrote it in C# when I was first getting into a contemporary computer language. Kevin helped me to translate it over using bridge.net to run on my website through JavaScript. Part of me wants to rewrite it in pure JS to apply my coding skills and see where I’ve grown. But I have other pressing things to do.

I created a density calculator too. It’s not the ideal for what I wanted, but it is a start. Put in any two variables into the equation d = m/V and the calculator will find the missing variable. It will also show if the object will float or sink in various materials, and it also shows a prediciton of where the object would float in water. 

These are all part of my normal curriculum, but now I have a page set up where the students can practice. I still need some time to work on the image scale and the layout, but at least the info is there. I’m trying to balance fitting everything on a computer scfreen, but I’m also aware that some students may use their smart phones. I know it is possible to have a stylesheet set up to accommodate media type, but I haven’t delved down that path yet.

I was also able to figure out a factor label calculator, which I hadn’t been able to do in C#. I didn’t create it the way I wanted to… The applet doesn’t “think” through the answer like I was hoping. Instead, I hard-coded a set of possible paths and let it work itself out from there. It works, but it isn’t as easily expandable as I wanted it.

For later this year, I wanted to have that “thinking” model in place for when I get my honors classes up to multi-step calculations. I wanted the applet to be able to generate workable questions and show solutions. I need to master the concepts of breadth-first searches and depth-first searches to see if I can get to the answer. But I need more work with data structures to get there.

The next calculator I need to create is for the Ideal Gas Law. There are three types of questions that can be asked and I want to be able to provide that calculator as another resource for the students.

Lastly, I also created a quiz program, which I dubbed, “The Quizzler”. It currently only has questions for density and phases of matter, but I’m hoping to add to the question libarary through the year and deepen its use. The phases questions are all pre-written, but the density ones include randomized calculations for endless questions. I can use the structure of it later for when we’re into physics and we have a lot of similiar-format equations, like F = m a, W = m g, p = m v, and so on.

So, go on and practice some science!

For most of the links, the calculator is located at the bottom of the page, after the notes.

 

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