# Day 10: Interaction Stations

Today was the start of some important changes in how I am viewing and structuring my intro physics class (Physics 10). We are just into our second day of the Balanced Forces Particle Model. On the first day, we built Olivia’s (First) Law — that unbalanced interactions mean changing velocity and balanced interactions mean constant velocity (more on this later, maybe, if I get around … Continue reading Day 10: Interaction Stations

# 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 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 13: Newton’s 2nd Law Experiment

We started Unbalanced Forces, so now we’re really doing physics! Of course, we started by doing an experiment. It was so cool to jump into our first real pre-lab with kids who’ve been there with me before. I showed them something and they exclaimed, “Observations!” and started listing them before I even really finished showing them the relativity exciting thing. They drew an FBD for the … Continue reading Day 13: Newton’s 2nd Law Experiment

# Day 12: First Quiz and Density Experiment in Chem 9

We started class by talking about my weird and hippie grading ways. Then we took our first quiz. I didn’t announce it ahead of time because I thought it would be better if we talked about how the grading would work right before they took it (and minimized the potential anxiety about assessments and grades). I think that worked well. Here’s what it looks like … Continue reading Day 12: First Quiz and Density Experiment in Chem 9

# Day 10: Building Boats in Chemistry

Most of our class time today in Chem 9 was spent building boats and following an only slightly edited version of this activity. In the morning, many students noted wearily that they had built boats to float pennies many times (even multiple years in middle school). I promised them that this activity would be different from what they had done before, but they didn’t believe … Continue reading Day 10: Building Boats in Chemistry

# Day 7: Volume in mL and cubic cm

One of my Chem 9 sections needed to finish whiteboarding the final bit of the Mass & Change, so this morning started with the 9th grade’s best whiteboarding session so far. They talked for a (relatively) long time without any intervention from me, asking each other about whether the alka-seltzer dissolves like sugar (“breaking up into pieces that are so small we can’t see it”) … Continue reading Day 7: Volume in mL and cubic cm

# Day 5: Mass & Change Whiteboards

On our third day of chemistry, we spent most of our time making and discussing whiteboards to represent each part of the mass and change experiments. Here is a great selection of the boards from various parts of the process. (Many of these boards were later edited because of different ideas in the discussions.) I especially loved that multiple groups started doing multiple snapshots of … Continue reading Day 5: Mass & Change Whiteboards