Day 6: Quarks, Whiteboards, and What in the world are capacitors doing?

The Modern Physics class had a board meeting to discuss the rules they came up with for how quarks combine. They also watched a couple of Physics Girl videos to give more overview of quarks and then went on a particle adventure. Both of my Physics 10 sections met today. Both classes finished the Constant Velocity Particle Model packet on paper and have only a couple of … Continue reading Day 6: Quarks, Whiteboards, and What in the world are capacitors doing?

Day 5: Rutherford Upgrades and Quarks

In Modern Physics, students worked in groups and suggested improvements to the QuarkNet activity that simulated the gold foil experiment. The goal was to think of ways that we could alter the activity to make it more closely relate to the actual experiment. Then they started figuring out patterns and rules for how quarks combine with the Quark Workbench activity. Continue reading Day 5: Rutherford Upgrades and Quarks

Day 4: Circuits Assessment and Whiteboarding Motion Diagrams

The first assessment of the year happened in my Electric Circuits class. I am adding in “practical objectives” to the list of skills, so the test included building a simple circuit. (This is Unit 1, folks.) I’m sure it seemed trivial to them today, but I was really glad to see them all find it so easy since it wasn’t an obvious task (even when looking … Continue reading Day 4: Circuits Assessment and Whiteboarding Motion Diagrams

Day 3: Starting Particle Physics

My Modern Physics class started thinking about particle physics with the gold foil experiment. We used another QuarkNet Data Portfolio activity and simulated the experiment using marbles as the alpha particles and dice as the gold atoms. They made a histogram of hits per 10 rolls by using sticky notes on the wall, then figured out the size of the particles (the dice and marbles are … Continue reading Day 3: Starting Particle Physics

Day 2: “Where something is” and Lighting Bulbs

One section of Physics 10 had its second day today. We articulated what position was and did a second take of the buggy lab with measurements of position instead of distance. Another amazing board meeting happened by the end of class, along with some beginnings of realizations about how important units really are for communication. (“How could some of us have a slope of 19 and some … Continue reading Day 2: “Where something is” and Lighting Bulbs

Day 1: Dice, Histograms, and Buggies

Modern Physics (for 11th/12th graders) started with a variation of a Quarknet Data Portfolio activity to learn how to make histograms and to start thinking about how they could be useful. There were multiple parts to the activity. In one part, they found sums for pairs of dice. They made histograms for their groups, but also pooled data as a class and made one big … Continue reading Day 1: Dice, Histograms, and Buggies

Day 20: Forces and Jumping

In our last class (which was a week ago), the Mechanics kids had whiteboarded a problem about a student jumping (which I got from Noah Segal, who—in addition to being a great physics teacher—is also a wizard of MS Word art): The discussion (last class) was centered around the first situation. The original whiteboard showed the forces as balanced. Might be tough to see in … Continue reading Day 20: Forces and Jumping