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

Day 3: What does a negative acceleration mean?

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?

Day 2: Mass & Change and 9th Grade Chemistry

It was the first day of 9th grade Chemistry! We are starting a new science curriculum for our school, starting with this year’s 9th grade. In the past, they did a rotation of subjects for 6 trimesters. Now, they will start by all taking an untracked yearlong Modeling Chemistry course. I’m teaching two sections. Since the 9th graders change so much over the course of … Continue reading Day 2: Mass & Change and 9th Grade Chemistry

Day 1: Carts, Ramps, and Sensors (Oh My)

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)

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