MagneTracks: A Tangible Constructionist Toolkit for Newtonian physics

Author: Miller, A., Rosenbaum, C. & Blikstein, P.
Year: 2012
Project: Magnetracks
Type: Refereed Conference Paper/Poster/Demo (with Proceedings)
Conference/Journal: TEI 2012

Andrea Miller, Claire Rosenbaum, and Paulo Blikstein. 2012. MagneTracks: a
tangible constructionist toolkit for Newtonian physics. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and
Embodied Interaction (TEI ’12), Stephen N. Spencer (Ed.). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 253-256.



Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) have received a huge push in education during the past few years. However, current methods to teach STEM concepts often lack the ability to allow students creative and open-ended expression. While some toys on the market try to address these issues, they often fail to fulfill learning affordances to their full potential. Our system, MagneTracks, is a multi-component educational toolkit that permits users to engage in creative, exploratory, and open-ended learning of Newtonian physics. MagneTracks consists of dynamic, tangible, magnetic tracks that attach to a vertical whiteboard, a computer-based tracking program integrated into the Netlogo platform, and curriculum challenge activity cards. MagneTracks is specifically focused on teaching physics concepts but can be used to educate in other STEM fields. Initial user observation has shown positive learning outcomes and high engagement.