Day 16: Direct Measurement Video Spring Energy Experiment

Today in 9th grade, we were working on finding a relationship between spring stretch and spring interaction energy. We are using this Direct Measurement Video to get our data, and the class split up the 5 data points to get the work done a little faster. Each table is working through two of the points, and each point is being worked on by two groups.

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I spent a while looking at this photo, especially in concert with lots of the 1-to-1 photos I’ve seen around (typical one that has come into my Twitter feed recently). I’ve struggled with thinking about the iPads (last year, too, in my math class) because they can really turn a set of problems into individual-focused work and make it tougher to collaborate even when you’re sitting at a table with someone. I liked that in this photo, you see a student working with her iPad turned away from her—she’s clearly been sharing with her group and isn’t absorbed/isolated into that 1-to-1 device. Around the room, I saw that a lot today—I think because of how we set up our data-taking scheme—and so I felt better about the use of this tech than I sometimes do.

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We got through most of the work today, but some groups realized that their data didn’t agree when they put it on the board. I also really liked how that process went. A group put up data, then looked at what else was in their row, then looked to see who the other group was and immediately went over to that table to start discussing why their numbers didn’t match. We didn’t even talk about doing that, so I was especially impressed by their initiative and investment in what they were doing.

Starting with energy is great conceptually, but doing legit, quantitative experiments for this unit is a little much when it’s a first unit (and especially in 9th grade, I think). Nothing is linear, lots of units and complicated measurements, and just really involved work. These 9th graders are stepping up, and I think picking up a lot of skills for it (even if they aren’t able to do as much of the heavy lifting in each experiment as they would be if we were starting with constant velocity). It’s a great group to experiment with (in multiple ways)!

Next class (Thursday) we will have a short test on the qualitative objectives for our energy unit, then sort out the rest of this data and hopefully graph the relationship.

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