Seeing is Believing: Teaching Physics with Animations

Liz's project aims to show the usefulness of animations and interactive applications in teaching physics, a subject which frequently has concepts that are difficult to visualize.  She compares students' knowledge and intuition of fundamental physics concepts before and after they view an animation or use an applet to evaluate how incorporating these elements into a lesson will impact learning. For her own part, she has created an animation with an accompanying explanation that demonstrates a concept in electricity and magnetism called Gauss's Law. She discusses the effectiveness of her animation and what she learned about teaching physics during her interactions with students.

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Author Bio(s): 
Liz Helfenberger is a Senior Physics/Math Undergraduate at the University of Iowa. She has participated in research at CERN for the past 3 years and aspires to attend a PhD program for experimental high energy physics upon graduation. She enjoys discussing her research with a variety of audiences, ranging from internal groups at CERN to the U of I Physics Department to the general public. Liz has a passion for understanding the universe in a fundamental way and sharing that enthusiasm with everyone she meets. In her free time, she often plays the piano or rides her bike.
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