Day 19: What to do after the test

Yesterday, we took our first test in Physics 9.

Today, we started off class by using to make new groups (big hit with this class for some reason!). Then I gave each table one blank copy of the test (they hadn’t seen their own tests and didn’t know their scores yet). They worked through it together. Then they whiteboarded those problems. I like this activity because it helps solidify the test as a tool for learning. We clearly aren’t finished with these ideas, and we keep moving forward with them so we can do even better next time around. It’s also great to mix up the groups and get them talking to people with different ideas. Having only one paper copy per group meant they had to come to a consensus at their own table and really have the discussions.


The discussion (in both small groups and in the large group) was great. They still need to work on making room for all of the voices, but they are already eager to have the conversations on their own. At one point, I wanted to interject because I thought they were getting hung up on vocabulary, but I couldn’t get a word in. I started raising my hand, and a while of their continued spirited discussion, one of the kids said, “Hey, Kelly is our teacher!” and they finally let me speak. Little did they know how much I want just that sort of thing to happen. I want them to be the grand arbiters of physics, not me.

A highlight for me was when they weren’t convinced that ∆Etherm in one snapshot needed to carry over to the subsequent snapshot. One of the girls in the class pointed out that when they had played with the PhET, if they dropped the skater onto the track, the thermal energy increased and stayed that amount even as the other energies transferred back and forth. Students making arguments that use their paradigm experiences as evidence is always one of those signs that things are going well, so I was psyched about that one. Different people remembered that experience differently, so one of the other kids pulled up the PhET again on her iPad and showed it around.

In the last part of class, they went back to the energy packets and started work on quantitative problems for the first time. We will continue the problem solving this week, then wrap up this first unit and move on to oscillating particles.

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