The morning section of Physics 10 got the chance to finish the cardboard box problem during the first half of class. (Just for reference—classes only meet 3 days each week.) I could write a lot of awesome things that students said, but I will make this post short and just show these two photos of the discussion that make me really happy. This gives the best … Continue reading Day 15: Finishing the “Box Problem”
The problem that never fails. It couldn’t sound more boring and the discussion couldn’t be more awesome. Here’s the problem (which is modified only slightly from Matt Greenwolfe’s More Models in Modeling materials; also, which has an original illustration from my student and advisee who is doing an independent study to illustrate our new Physics 10 materials): And here are some photos from class today. We … Continue reading Day 11: That Cardboard Box Problem
Physics 10 wrapped up the Constant Velocity Particle Model packet with a couple of really great and subtle class discussions about what information they could get from position-time and velocity-time graphs that included ideas about translating between representations to get a better understanding of what was happening with an object’s motion. The Circuits class started figuring out more about what must be happening in the … Continue reading Day 7: What is happening in the wires when a capacitor is in the circuit?
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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