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To: <mwforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: Teaching
From: "Jeff Knope" <jknope@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 13:20:37 -0700

Hi Jim,

Well, I understand the whiff of skepticism I think I catch. That's just my point. People don't think of MicroWorlds as having these kinds of capabilities.

You may see BricelandGPS program description at http://www.asis.com/~jknope/gpsweb5.html. I should explain that I wrote this web page as part of an effort to learn HTML. This product is not in fact for sale at this time. The Order Forms, along with all the rest of it, were practice in creating these types of documents. However, the program does exist, and works exactly as described.

The best I can offer for the AIGenCAD program is the attached screen shot fragment. This screen shot is taken just at the final point of MicroWorlds' involvement with the production of this portion of the plans.

The user has told the program (via a dialog) that the building has 1 framed floor and 2 slabs, and what their elevations are. He has then input the perimeter shapes and sizes of these elements with a MicroWorlds CAD-like program designed to allow this.

At that point, MicroWorlds analyzes the geometry with rule-based algorithms that find the most economical distribution of piers and girder and joist spans, and generates the drawing shown. The user is invited to make adjustments as needed (at this point, the user knows some things about the building that MicroWorlds doesn't yet know, such as interior points where roof loads are coming down).

When satisfied, the user authorizes MicroWorlds to write a file readable by the CAD program. It is in the CAD program that the dimensioning and noting takes place (told to do those things by MicroWorlds).

This program is work under development, but again, it exists and does as I describe. My vision is to be able to produce an entire set of Working Drawings and Specifications in this manner.


----- Original Message ----- From: <jbonnes@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <mwforum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Friday, June 10, 2005 12:09 PM
Subject: Teaching

I read your thread and I am  impressed at what you say you can do with
Microworlds. I have been using MW to teach math and am

quite impressed at how it forces students to understand the problems they are
doing. However my colleagues don't seem to get it.

They don't see the my students "solving" a lot of book problems. Instead they
see my students trying to draw stars in stars or trying

to figure out how to draw a Von Koch snowflake. They say that it seems that they
are working on the same problems for a long time.

What they don't see is that for all of my students, programming is new to them
and is a skill, and I would add an important skill, they

need to know to do their projects. It is also valuable for learning mathematics,
all the new Calculus books I've seen encourage students

to write programs to integrate, use Newton's Method etc.. I had one student who
for the past 6 weeks has been learning to draw stars

in stars in such a way that the spacing between the stars as well as the size of
the stars can be varied. The problem is more complex

than you would think at first glance. It involves an understanding of geometry
and trig as well as some basic algebra. Also, the solution

requires several intermediate results, and this is not typical of most math
problems that require you only to solve for one answer.

This I think is one of the great strengths of MW in that it allows a student to
tackle more complex problems in a direct manner. The

use of text boxes to show the output of variables at given stages introduces
students to troubleshooting techniques, although I do wish

MW had a step function like other API's.
As for your using MW to do all that you say I would love to see some examples.
Jim Bonnes
Liberty School
Blue Hill, Maine

Attachment: Foundation&FlrFrmPlanInvert.JPG
Description: JPEG image

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