Susan Hunt, Alberto Navarro and David Cano from Infinity Visions, presented a research paper and future development plan on the subject “TEACHING MATHEMATICS AND PHYSICS BY DESIGNING PYROTECHNIC DISPLAYS


This research deals with education in middle school mathematics. The topic is acknowledged to be very important, and hard to teach, often because of lack of student motivation. The approach here was to develop a teaching module that requires students to use mathematics as they design a simulated pyrotechnics display, using a student version of a software program suite, Show Director, that is actually used, worldwide, to design very large displays. A student version called PyroCreator Student was constructed. Experienced teachers designed and tested lesson plans using the program. After the initial research was successfully completed, future discussions include using the more advanced professional software, Visual Show Director, to teach mathematics and physics at the High School Level. These plans can be coordinated with US state and national teaching standards for mathematics. Student performance on relevant examinations can be compared to the performance of a control group that has received conventional instruction.

The intellectual merit of this project is that it provides a highly motivating vehicle for integrating mathematics into an engineering application that is coordinated with musical and visual arts evaluations.

The broader impact is that, if embraced by more schools, it could be available for use in schools throughout the nation. In order to ensure that this is an appropriate exercise, the program can be coordinated with nationwide standards of mathematics instruction.

Read presentation here.


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