Session 2Q | An introduction to an innovative open educational resource, Scaffolded Training Environment for Physics Programming (STEPP)




Kesden, Michael
Fishwick, Paul
Kitagawa, Midori
Urquhart, Mary
Guadagno, Rosanna

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Texas Digital Library


Scaffolded Training Environment for Physics Programming (STEPP) is a software application created for students in introductory physics courses at high schools and colleges to learn physics concepts, modeling, and computational thinking (CT) synergistically. STEPP leverages the power of CT to help students learn physics concepts by allowing them to model a wide variety of systems of motion using a finite-state machines (FSMs). STEPP uses the following features to accomplish this goal: 1) multiple representations (animations, graphs, equations, free-body diagrams, etc.), 2) dynamic color-coded simulations that provide real-time feedback, 3) scaffolding to introduce concepts and tasks of increasing complexity, 4) low-entry threshold in terms of prerequisite skills and cost, and 5) modularity and versatility for ease of inclusion in existing curricula. The emphasis in STEPP on modeling and CT is an important innovation increasing its utility as an OER because these skills have wide applications to pedagogy and workforce development beyond their discipline-specific use in introductory physics. Three STEPP modules are available to the public at at no cost.