Information and resources for Teachers

The aim of this app is to help students to properly learn the physics equations they needed for the new science GCSE. As we know, students who don't have them at their fingertips they at a big disadvantage. Below there are some notes and resources that might be useful if you want to encourage use of the app.

How to use the app

The app works a like a pack of index cards. Tap on a section to expand it. There are word and symbol version and information about units, including common alternatives.

Tap a variable and the equation will rearrange to make it the subject. Expand the view and step backwards and forwards using the arrow buttons.

Set an emoji to group the equations. Set the star rating to sort and prioritise them and write notes about things to remember.

On the home screen, set the target exam, focus in on a particular topic or emoji group and sort by star rating.

Hit the Q button to brink up the quiz. The difficulty adjusts itself automaticially depending on how well you are doing, but it can also be changed using the + and - buttons.

The practice quizes are not timed so there is no pressure, but for a real test, start a game and try to beat the count-down clock.

Tap the activity button on the home screen to show an overview of progress. See how time spent on practice quizes, the accuracy and the difficulty over the last weeks or months.

Use the menu to switch to night mode theme which is easier on the eye when it's dark. Also there setting to turn off "x" sign in symbol equations.

Resources

This is a powerpoint which could be used or adapted to introduce the app to a class.

How to use 23 Equations.pptx

What's next with the app

There are a number of features which are either ready to go or at various stages of development. The existing feature set and the additions in the first section below will always be free. The cost of development means that more advanced features, particularly allowing schools to set and collect tests from students, may come at a cost. Other avenues of financing are being explored.

Stage1: Expanding on current features

Coming soon:

  • Show in more detail what skills need to be worked on, e.g. units or rearranging.
  • More sophisticated AI to pick questions that match the needs of the learner.
  • Exam board specific setting so the sets of equations better match specifications, including which paper.
  • Notification style feedback on wrong answers.
  • Game-style badges for rewarding achievements and trying out different features

Stage 2: Extra features which may cost a small amount

Unfortunately, these features may not be free in order to cover development costs.

  • Large bank of practice questions, marked and answered in app.
  • Variations automatically generated to avoid repetition.
  • Difficulty levels and common exam gotchas.
  • Questions intelligently targeting weak areas such as unit conversion.
  • Structured support for working through the questions.

Stage 3: Schools version

This stageAllow the school to cover the cost of the extra features and also allow a centralised collection of data.

  • All of the extra features for all students.
  • Setting of questions from the question bank and collecting answer.
  • Questions available on website as well as through the app.
  • Using feedback from the app to identify strengths and weaknesses.
  • In school high-scores tables for games mode.
  • Access to a web version of the practice questions for students without a phone or tablet.

About me and why I coded this app

I wrote this app because it was the perfect way to combine three things I love: Physics, teaching and coding. I taught Physics for nearly 20 years but my desire to do coding was always competing with the need to code. This year, I'm trying out just coding for while.

The teaching route goes like this. After studying Physics at university, I worked for several years with learning disabled adults in Upstate New York and London. Then I taught English in rural Japan for several more years. When I returned, I became a science teacher and eventually head of department. After the school was shut down, I became part-time science adviser for Shropshire and recently returned to teaching just GCSE Physics, just in time for the new GCSEs.

The coding pathway is even longer. I taught myself to code on the ancient school computer. I jumped on the ZX-Spectum when it came out and for years, coded on whatever was available. I wrote software for making music, some of which won awards. As a teacher, I worked on my Excel skills but after the school closed, I was able to work part-time on developing database and science simulation software. The maqnets simulation is free and the ripple tank simulation is pretty cheap. There is also a particles simulation nearing completion using university level maths models in an accessible app for secondary school.

When teaching the Physics for the new GCSE, I found it many students didn't engage with learning the equations and this app is an attempt to help make them more accessible.