Yesterday Physics used Randall Munroe’s What If about Mt. Thor as the basis of their work on free fall. Today each group used a whiteboard the answer to their part of the question. We then did a gallery tour table to table to correct homework.
And sometimes that writing it down takes more than one try. Writing with detail isn’t easy, and is something that needs to be refined and practiced.
Today after a first attempt at the Engineering Journal Reflection prompt “Edison and You” we took a second attempt in adding more detail to our original work.
It was an individual prewriting exercise as well, but we did it again today in a group, Venn Diagram: Edison & You. This time on whiteboards, we traveled from whiteboard to whiteboard editing, elaborating, and clarifying others ideas on this assignment. After which spent time rewriting the part of the prompt that needed more detail “Compare and Contrast the Work Edison did Creating a Light Bulb and Our Work Creating a Light Bulb”. Each color on the whiteboard was information from a different group.
We modified the traditional Venn Diagram shape from circles to overlapping squares so it would be easier to write details.
Atomic mass is a great way for teaching the need for weighted averages. Working together groups figured out where the atomic mass published on the PTE comes from (How can you have a decimal if there are only whole protons and whole neutrons?). Working together on whiteboards makes the computations a bit easier to layout and manage.
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.
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.
1D Kinematics equations have been the steep hill students have had to climb getting into College Prep or AP Physics. Lots of variables, what do you use where, and lots of frustration.
This year I held off as long as I could before introducing the heavy-hitters of solving word problems. Lots of time spent on whiteboard observations of motion, graphing with and without numbers, and motion maps. Hopefully this “formula” will be a winner.
One of the best things teaching physics is the A-HA! moment when students feel they own the problem.
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.
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.