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 9: Rules for the Direction of the Unbalanced Force

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

Day 6: Translating between graphs, TIPERs, and Light Clocks

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

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 4: Position, Velocity, Acceleration

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

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.”