be excellent to each other & don't run with scissors

Tag: student ownership

158/180 The real reason why teaching is incredible

Was very proud to take some students recently to Clark university for a MITs-Seaperch workshop where in 1.5 days they took a box of parts and made a functional underwater ROV. They did everything themselves: soldered the switches, wired the control box, waterproofed the motors and made them thrusters…it is incredible what feats students can accomplish if they are just asked to try.

sketchnotes-engineering process ROV2 ROV1 Copy of File_001

33/180 Plickers and Democracy pt. 2

What I am really liking about using a polling app such as Plickers is the feedback on what the students really know. This time I changed my tactic instead of me explaining the right answer, I was able to pick on someone “at random” that I know knew the right answer. This introduced some new voices to the conversation, and the students knew if I called on them, that they knew they had the right answer.

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34/180 Musical Chairs & Pass the Pig

As a review for our exam tomorrow, students had a multi-part motion with multiple acceleration problem to solve. They started in groups with a particular color, did a piece, then moved on to the next board to do the next piece (I also asked each group to switch authors board to board). This was in hope by seeing past work that they didn’t do that they looked at it with a more mindful eye to detail.

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Once they completed the problem, we reviewed the pieces using “Pass the Pig” where students added one piece of information to the V-T graph or X-T graph, I used my document camera to project the work so it could be more easily seen by all. As a class they had to agree or disagree with the information before we moved on to the next person.

14/180 Concept maps for ownership

I’m a big fan of concept maps for learning owning the vocabulary needed to be scientifically literate. Unlike vocab lists which can be memorized and forgotten, creating and presenting in class gave Physical Science a sense of what they knew vs. what they owned.

Before we started they had a list of words they had to discuss and classify in their groups in terms of: know really well, kind-of, and not really.

After our discussion in class where they presented their whiteboard concept maps to the class in round-robin style. Each group was asked to present a word and the thread of understanding they had with other words. It isn’t easy to do that! We then discussed how spending time in school is best figuring out what you don’t know and what [tools, information, learning experiences] you need [from me] to learn it, vs. showing off what you *do* know.

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13/180 Tsunami

On twitter I saw this image from the NW Tsunami Alerts, CPEbqpEUkAAN7BK



and thought we’d use it in Physics to talk about vectors, velocity, speed and displacement. One small problem that my clever students figured out was that the distance didn’t seem right N-S, I had given them a Robinson Projection which while a good compromise in how do flatten a sphere. What the students rightly picked up on was that the one thing distorted is North/South distances.

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10/180 Tell me what it *isn’t*

Working in Physical Science on testing samples and narrowing down what group on the periodic table they belong to (non-metal, metalloid, transition metals, metals, or Noble gases).

While they observed properties like conductivity, magnetism, luster, ductility, malleability, and brittleness, they had to eliminate possible groups and narrow in on the groups it *could* be. Trying to use Dr. Eugenia Etkina’s fall-back, vs. leading questioning. Asking students what they know to help them narrow what they don’t know.


9/180 Gallery Tour

We’ve been working in Physical Science on the properties of the elements, and today each group was responsible for summarizing the different physical properties of each major group.

Once they did, they summarized their information on a whiteboard and everyone did a gallery tour to collect the information for the other groups.

We’ll use this summary to guess the mystery element group with real samples next week.


8/180 Does “x” mark the spot?

After yesterday working with our variable speed cars to find average speed and instantaneous (fastest) speed:

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We took that experience to start writing our own problems based on speed, average speed, and average velocity:
2015-09-10 13.35.20 2015-09-10 13.35.03Students had parameters of 5 steps, one negative step, and non-zero displacement. They then developed the scenario and found the speed of each leg, average speed of the journey, total displacement, average velocity, which they will give to another group to solve next class.


7/180 “LOL” but not really

Frank Noschese is awesome about sharing good ideas (as is the rest of the Physics Teacher Twitter Community)



Today we started with students developing a procedure to measure the time and then calculate distance they traveled while texting “LOL” (we also discussed the laws in MA and junior operator laws that are associated with this dangerous activity).  We’ll talk reaction time and texting soon. The overall impression was that they didn’t realize just how far they’d travel in a “short” amount of time.

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