We spent our Mechanics class solving problems and working on good habits (keeping units attached to numbers, using physically meaningful symbols). I let it take up the time today, and I went around to different groups as they worked to get as many people as possible to see how using the slope and the area of the v-t graph wasn’t as overwhelming as it seemed … Continue reading Day 11: Bear and the Honey and the final day of CAPM
The set of problems today asked students to draw multiple representations based on given velocity-time graphs, but also to say whether the forces were balanced, unbalanced in the positive direction, or unbalanced in the negative direction. After the first problem, one student volunteered a rule (I didn’t prompt this!)—that the unbalanced forces were correlated with the acceleration. That 0 acceleration means balanced forces, positive acceleration means positive unbalanced forces, … Continue reading Day 9: Rules for the Direction of the Unbalanced Force
Kinematics is clicking into place for the Mechanics students. We wrapped up the TIPERs problems in our packet (including whiteboarding), and we’re ready to add in the quantitative side by using the graphs to solve problems. For this problem, there was a lively discussion about tangent lines (ARE THEY REAL OR MADE UP???), the intermediate value theorem, and whether you could say two things had the same speed … Continue reading Day 8: “Aha” moments with kinematics graphs
Relativity (the class) made the shift from “regular old” relative motion to the beginnings of Special Relativity by thinking about the light clock. When we were trying to think about the difference in path length for the light in the stationary clock versus moving clock, one student went up to make the connection to the ball falling on the moving cart from the Frames of … Continue reading Day 6: Translating between graphs, TIPERs, and Light Clocks
We sorted ourselves into new (random) groups, worked for a bit, started whiteboarding problems, and finished with our first quiz in Advanced Mechanics. We were working on this TIPERs problem (pasted into a page in my CAPM packet): It’s the first time I’ve used this problem, and I am totally in love with it. Amazing conversations are happening, and the whiteboarding is really productive so … Continue reading Day 4: Position, Velocity, Acceleration
We didn’t answer that question today, but we asked it a lot. Almost everyone in the class has really wondered that on their own by now. One student has proposed that it has to do with the direction of the forces, but that didn’t get much traction (yet). We will come back to that question and idea soon enough. We worked through their findings from … Continue reading Day 3: What does a negative acceleration mean?
Today was (finally!) the first day of classes. This year, I’m teaching 1 section of Advanced Mechanics (basically AP 1), 2 sections of a yearlong 9th grade Modeling Chemistry class, and 2 trimesters of other science electives (Special Relativity in the fall, Physics of Sound & Music in the winter). Advanced Mechanics is a total treat to teach. It’s an amazing group of kids who … Continue reading Day 1: Carts, Ramps, and Sensors (Oh My)
Great Experiments is continuing to work on their Galileo unit. We started today sharing our experiences with finding ways to take data about position and time for objects rolling down ramps. There were several different ideas, including two different video approaches, using a stopwatch while releasing the ball from different distances, and putting rubber bands on the track to make a “metronome” as the ball … Continue reading Day 17: Free Fall Mini Project
Our next set of investigations in Great Experiments is focused on Galileo. When I was prepping for the class this summer, I read Galileo for the first time, and one of my first thoughts (besides, “Wow! This is amazing! Why haven’t I read this before?”) was how much it was like a Veritasium video. That also seemed like a gentler way in for the kids, so … Continue reading Day 14: Galileo and Veritasium
I finally met my first ever Advanced Physics class this afternoon. It couldn’t have been more fun. Since I didn’t know them at all, and since I didn’t teach any of them the first time around, I wasn’t sure what to expect of what they would be bringing to the class. I put together some kinematics activities, and after some moving around in front of … Continue reading Day 2. What is average velocity?