Day 8: “Aha” moments with kinematics graphs

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

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 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 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)

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.”

Day 13: First Round of Force Problem Discussions

I wrote about this day last trimester, too. Today’s class was also great. They stayed in the circle for the entire time, and we got through the first two sections of the first problem. (That’s about the right pace on this and speaks to the depth of the discussion that was happening.) I paused them a few times to put in a couple of words. … Continue reading Day 13: First Round of Force Problem Discussions