You are a game designer for Rovio Entertainment, the company that makes Angry Birds. The human resources department wants your input. They are hiring several programmers to build the physics engine for Rovio’s newest game. Here are the demo videos from the top four applicants. Which applicant(s) would you recommend for hire?

These videos were not created by me. I found them online several years ago, but I can’t remember where. If anyone knows, please tell me so I can give the creator proper credit. Thanks!

A student in a lab holds a brick of weight W in her outstretched horizontal palm and lifts the brick vertically upward at a constant speed. The force of the student’s hand on the brick is: A. constant in time and equal to zero. B. constant in time, greater than zero, but less than W. C. constant in time and equal to W. D. constant in time and greater than W. E. decreasing in time but always greater than W.

Now watch this video. Feel free to pause, rewind, and rewatch as needed.

Finally, answer this question again:

A student in a lab holds a brick of weight W in her outstretched horizontal palm and lifts the brick vertically upward at a constant speed. The force of the student’s hand on the brick is: A. constant in time and equal to zero. B. constant in time, greater than zero, but less than W. C. constant in time and equal to W. D. constant in time and greater than W. E. decreasing in time but always greater than W.

Believe it or not, the concept needed to reach the correct answer is given in Khan’s video. Highlight below to reveal: C. constant in time and W. Why? Since the brick moves at a constant velocity, the forces on the brick (you and gravity) must be balanced.

In which I talk with the hosts of Lab Out Loud, science teachers Dale Basler and Brian Bartel, about blogging, active student engagement, flipped classrooms, pseudoteaching, and the Khan Academy:

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for MSNBC.com’s “Future of Technology” series for a story on Khan Academy and online lectures. I appear in these two videos:

Exhibit B: My students on elevators Framed around the Karplus learning cycle (Exploration, Invention, and Application) my students construct the conceptual and mathematical models themselves.

1. Exploration Phase:

2. Invention Phase:

Draw a motion diagram for the object attached to the scale when the scale is stationary, then being pulled up and then stops.

Draw a force diagram for the object attached to the scale when the scale is stationary, then being pulled up and then stops. Decide whether the force diagram is consistent with the motion diagram. How is the force diagram related ot the reading of the scale?

Use the force diagram and the idea under test to make a prediction of the relative readings of the scale.

Observe the experiment and reconcile the outcome with your prediction.

(Video and questions for this phase taken from Eugenia Etkina’s awesome site Physics Teaching Technology Resource which has many more video experiments.)

3. Application Phase:

Instead of showing our students a better lecture, let’s get them doing something better than lecture.

UPDATE: Welcome New York Times readers! Other recommended posts: