Projectile Motion and Circular Motion
This activity was selected for the Teaching Computation in the Sciences Using MATLAB Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Computational, Quantitative, and Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see https://serc.carleton.edu/teaching_computation/materials/activity_review.html.
This page first made public: Oct 3, 2017
Upon completing this activity, students should be able to convert a problem that is typically solved analytically to a computational problem using a MATLAB function or script. Students will learn to program a function and/or script and evaluate it for different parameters using MATLAB and verify their analytical calculations.
Specifically, students will learn to (a) fill in a template for a function or script to represent equations, (b) correctly use variables to evaluate the function or script for the problem, and (c) produce the correct calculation for the problem using a MATLAB function or script.
Context for Use
The MATLAB Grader problems were developed for a freshman physics course on the concepts of circular motion and projectile motion. Throughout the semester, 3 or 4 MATLAB Grader problems are assigned along with 7 or 8 homework problems on the same concepts from the chapter of the textbook to be completed with paper and pencil. The addition of the computational problems provides students with the opportunity to develop their computational skills to program MATLAB functions and scripts to verify their analytical calculations.
Students have completed Matlab Onramp and 3 similar assignments on the topics of kinematics and vectors in MATLAB Grader before this assignment.
Description and Teaching Materials
Teaching Notes and Tips
The MATLAB Grader system tests student solutions for completion and correctness. In addition to the parameters given in the problem, the system also tests the student solutions with random numbers to prevent students from using constants instead of parameters in the functions.
Two examples of correct and incorrect student solutions are provided. The first example shows the solutions of the same student for the problem titled, Circular Motion 1. In the incorrect solution, constants were used inside the function. While this evaluates correctly for this problem, when the function is evaluated with random numbers by the MATLAB Grader system, it evaluates incorrectly. The student corrected their solution and received full credit. Settings in MATLAB Grader provide options for the number of attempts allowed.
The second example shows solutions for two different students for the problem titled, Projectile Motion. In the incorrect solution, the student's equation for the time is incorrect. The correct solution of another student is provided for comparison.