Teaching Coding and Physics Using Game Creation: An Annotated Bibliography

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Image from “Kernal Panic” Used with permission. https://springrts.com/wiki/Kernel_Panic

I want to write a new interactive physics book that uses game creation as a way to learn physics and programming. Game platforms like Unity3D and others have physics engines that allow collisions, gravity, and forces to be applied to 3D objects. Simple games can be developed using physics and programming concepts can be learned as well.

I’ve been watching tutorials and trying different ideas, but have not made much progress as my lack of programming skills and ability with Unity3D have really stalled me at the beginning of the journey.

This week, as an assignment in my EdTech 501 class, I researched papers and publications on the subject of using gaming as a way to teach physics and computer coding skills and found that there is some research that backs up the idea that students will learn coding better if the learning is motivated by the building of a game (Feldgen & Clua, 2004).

I also found papers on using the game Angry Birds as a way to teach physics concepts like projectile motion as well as a book on using the physics engine in Unity3D. What I have learned is that I need to start simple, with what I can do now, and build the complexity as I learn and the students learn.

Through this research, I have also found a great tool for creating a bibliography, citations, and keeping track of research papers called Zotero (https://www.zotero.org/). You can install Zotero on your web browser and whenever you come across a good source, you can click the button and save it to the Zotero Application.  The Zotero application allows you to put the sources into categories and folders and it will generate a citation and build a bibliography for you with a couple button clicks. It’s like Pinterest for academics. If you’re in school, get it.

Here’s a link to the annotated bibliography I created in my research.

Feldgen, M., & Clua, O. (2004). Games as a motivation for freshman students to learn programming (pp. 1079–1084). IEEE. http://doi.org/10.1109/FIE.2004.1408712

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