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 17: Force Discussion to FBD Practice

Because of some interruptions to our class time, it took us a while to (finally) get to the end of problem 4. It’s a tough one—asking what will happen, after you’ve been pushing an object at a constant velocity, when you then reduce your push to use a smaller force. The class was divided among a lot of different ideas. Would it go at a … Continue reading Day 17: Force Discussion to FBD Practice

Day 15: “But then it wouldn’t be able to move!”

We finished problem 3 in no time (what if the floor were completely frictionless), and then we moved on to problem 4 where the real trouble always begins. Here’s the problem: It’s one of the Matt Greenwolfe problems, but I’ve worked on the precise wording a lot to avoid some of the semantics problems that have tripped up my students in the past. (For example, … Continue reading Day 15: “But then it wouldn’t be able to move!”

Day 14: “I feel like I’ve grown so much today.”

Part 2 of the first force problem discussions happened today. The third and final part will happen on Monday. As always, the second problem was much easier after the first one. As a class, things started coming together even more today. More people spoke who hadn’t talked much in large group discussions yet. They were quicker to call on Talia’s Law (N1L) as part of an argument. … Continue reading Day 14: “I feel like I’ve grown so much today.”

Day 13: First Round of Force Problem Discussions

I wrote about this day last trimester, too. Today’s class was also great. They stayed in the circle for the entire time, and we got through the first two sections of the first problem. (That’s about the right pace on this and speaks to the depth of the discussion that was happening.) I paused them a few times to put in a couple of words. … Continue reading Day 13: First Round of Force Problem Discussions

Days 11 and 12: Talia’s Law (N1L), System Schemas, and FBDs

After the bowling ball investigations, we returned to the classroom to look at the hover puck and the fan carts. We talked a little about confirmation bias and how difficult it is to really observe (rather than explain why you expect to see something). We spent a lot of time observing what happened when the dueling fan carts started at off-vs-high and then changed to high-vs-high. … Continue reading Days 11 and 12: Talia’s Law (N1L), System Schemas, and FBDs

Day 10: Bowling Balls and Balanced Forces

New packet day! My friend and fellow physics teacher Leah was visiting today* (and gets all of the photo credits here). We immediately went out into the hallway and started playing with the bowling balls. The first two questions have pretty obvious answers (How do you speed up a bowling ball using taps? How do you slow down a bowling ball using taps?).   The … Continue reading Day 10: Bowling Balls and Balanced Forces

Day 9: Students Interacting with Test Questions

I started the day at a coffee shop writing on the tests from last class so that I could return them this morning. And just overall being psyched about what these kids can do. For a variety of reasons, these students were ready to interact with the test in just the kinds of ways that I wanted (even though it was their first graded assessment). … Continue reading Day 9: Students Interacting with Test Questions

Day 8: First CVPM Test

We spent the first half of class working on problems in groups and figuring out how to use the area under velocity-time graphs. Then we pulled the tables apart and took our first test. Or quiz. Or celebration of mastery. Or fun educational experience. Or, really though, started a trimester-long one-on-one conversation about what’s going well and where each student can improve. Continue reading Day 8: First CVPM Test