About Concept Checkers

We like to experiment here at The Physics Classroom. After all, we are scientists. As of this writing (early March, 2022), we have begun an experiment to accompany a select number of resources with a Concept Checker. A Concept Checker is an interactive questioning tool that targets student's understanding of a concept that might have emerged from doing an online activity. 

Our Concept Checker experiment begins by developing Concept Checkers for our physics simulations - the Physics Interactives section. This experiment is in response to a rather common request of having such a tool that checks on student understanding. Our questions will emphasize the key elements that we believe should emerge from the simulation. And where available, we will use the existing classroom-ready activity sheets that accompany these simulations as a guide in creating the Concept Checker questions.  

Over the course of the Spring of 2022, we hope to produce a half-dozen to a dozen Concept Checkers for use with our simulations. The project will continue during the Fall of 2022. Ultimately we hope to have a concept-checking mechanism for every simulation and implement our Task Tracker tool to keep track of the progress data of students. We can also envision the use of Concept Checkers with our Tutorial pages. As we like to say: join in now, stop back by often, and watch us grow. 


Are Concept Checkers Free?

Yes! That's one of the many awesome aspects of a Concept Checker. They won't cost you, your student, or your school a penny. They are 100% free ... and so are the simulations at our Physics Interactives section. The free use of Concept Checkers has the limitation of there being no storage of student progress data and no ability to customize the Concept Checker. But that doesn't need to be a big deal. If you're using them in class, just ask students to "show your screen" when they're finished. They absolutely love the Trophies and the dataways and will proudly show you their accomplishment ... along with a great big smile. And if you do want to keep track of student progress, Task Tracker accounts will be available for Concept Checkers during the 2022-23 school year. Using Concept Checkers with Task Tracker offers many benefits and you won't be able to beat the price.  See below.


I'm a Teacher. How Can I Use Concept Checkers?

That's a great question! First, we believe in putting great tools in the hands of great teachers with the confidence that they will find the best ways to use the tools in the context of their own classrooms. Teachers know their students and their course better than we do and they know how to make a tool most useful in their classroom. So when it comes to the question of How Can I Use Concept Checkers?, we encourage teachers to experiment with a variety of implementations and use the ones that best fit their own classroom.

With that being said, we always imagine how we might use a tool in our own classrooms. As discussed above, we imagined that Concept Checkers would best be paired with a simulation from our Physics Interactive section. It was our vision that it would be the closing activity of a classroom lesson that would include the use of a simulation. Ideally, the classroom use of these Concept Checkers would involve providing students time to do the simulation under the guidance of one of the exercises that we have provided or one of the teacher's own making or even no written exercise whatsoever. We imagined that the there would be some processing of the activity by the teacher followed up by the completion of the Concept Checker as a check for student understanding. Successful completion of a Concept Checker yields a screen that displays a trophy with the name of the Concept Checker listed below the Trophy.  The inclusion of Trophy screen as the signature of completion makes the Concept Checker a great tool for in-class use. Teachers can simply employ a show me your screen approach for validating student completion (and presumably understanding) of the task.


Can a Concept Checker be Used with Task Tracker?

Yes! Well, sort of. 

As of this writing (3/10/2022), Concept Checkers are still under development. We are utilizing our Minds On Physics engine for the use of Concept Checkers. Because of this, any teacher who has an enabled Task Tracker account and has employed the Minds On Physics feature with one of their classes will be able to beta test the dual use of Concept Checkers with Task Tracker. We have tested every Concept Checker and they appear to be working great. You will find them listed under the topic Concept Checkers for Physics Interactives. So if you're a Minds On Physics teacher, add the topic to your Assignment board and start assigning Concept Checkers as a pairing to the use of our physics simulations. And bonus: you can customize these Concept Checkers by eliminating questions you don't like, setting scoring rules, and editing the Health penalty. 

In the future, Concept Checkers will be another feature for all Task Tracker users to implement with their classes. Look for the feature during the Fall of 2022-23 school year. 


What in the World is Task Tracker?

Task Tracker is our tool which tracks student progress on activities found on our website. We launched Task Tracker during the Spring of 2020 when the pandemic closed schools. After beta testing it that Spring, we released it during the 2020-21 school year as a tool for tracking student progress on our Concept Builders. We re-wrote our Minds On Physics Internet Modules and released it as a Task Tracker compatible feature at the start of the 2021-22 school year. We will continue to configure sections of our website for use with Task Tracker. In the Fall of 2022, we will make our Calculator Pad section Task Tracker compatible. Task Tracker subscriptions can be purchased for as low as $0.80/student/feature. You can learn more about subscription purchases in our Concept Builders or our Minds On Physics sections.


See our Concept Checkers


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