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# Kelly O'Shea

I teach physics to amazing high school sophomores and juniors at a small boarding school in Delaware. This is my sixth year teaching physics, and I love it! I use Modeling Instruction, try to grow my students' mindsets, and love to try new crazy ideas (including NOT giving homework). I'm going to keep working as hard as I can to get better and better at teaching.
Kelly O'Shea has written 64 posts for Physics! Blog!

### Whiteboard Face-Off

Next up in whiteboarding modes: The Whiteboard Face-Off (aka Board Meetings*). When we have a Face-Off, every group is whiteboarding the same problem. No one presents. Instead, we sit on the tables (bringing in our circle and keeping people from just doing more work in the packet and skipping the discussion) and all share our … Continue reading »

### The Right Thing, Said Once

Prologue: I have been doing a lot of thinking this year about what I’ve learned so far about teaching physics (and about teaching high school students in general) both as general reflection and as part of solidifying my thoughts in preparation to look for a new physics teaching position for next school year. Occasional conversations … Continue reading »

### Building the Constant Velocity Model

Note: This post details my version of the paradigm experiment for what is Unit 2 (Particle Moving with Constant Velocity) of the Modeling Instruction Mechanics curriculum. My interpretation varies a bit from the official materials, and my classes build this as their first model, starting with the very first day of school. Here’s a binder. And the handshake. [As … Continue reading »

### Empirical Force Laws: Spring Force Experiment

In the middle of our Balanced Forces unit, we do a couple of experiments to come up with equations for some of the types of forces we’ve been talking about while drawing qualitative free body diagrams. We tend to do them at the same time and to post-lab them together. I covered the gravitational force last … Continue reading »

### Empirical Force Laws: Gravitational Force Experiment

In the middle of our Balanced Forces unit, we do a couple of experiments to come up with equations for some of the types of forces we’ve been talking about while drawing qualitative free body diagrams. We tend to do them at the same time and to post-lab them together. I’ll split them over two … Continue reading »

### Energy Pie Charts

The stage is set. We started building the energy transfer model (ETM), and we’ve talked about the flavors of energy. We are ready for a new representation to help us start thinking about energy storage in a system. In a day or two, we’ll be using energy bar charts, but first, we’ll get used to … Continue reading »

### Physics Objectives 2013

Here are my updated lists of objectives for the year (subject to change/grow as the year unfolds depending on how the pace goes). As always, feel free to borrow and modify these objectives for your own classes. I should note that I teach using Modeling Instruction (MI) and that some of my model names differ … Continue reading »

### All-year Goal-less Problems for Physics Class

So. Josh* took my Honors Physics exam review activity and expanded it into something bigger and better. As I was reading his post, though, I started thinking about my regular physics classes. They would really like something like that. Of course, I also had to make it my own. I am curating a set of … Continue reading »

### Balanced Forces before Constant Acceleration

I know you’ve been there. Stuck in the doldrums of kinematics. “It’s against the law to think in the doldrums!” So there you are. Stuck in description-land. The juicy parts of physics (explain and predict) are far away and out of reach. You can easily spend ages and ages there. The students start to think … Continue reading »

### Whiteboarding Mistake Game: A Guide

The Mistake Game (which I’ll describe in more detail in just a moment) has become the default mode of whiteboarding (problems, not experiments) in my physics classes. I’ve written about it before (old links at the bottom of this post), but felt like I needed to write again, now that I’ve been using it almost … Continue reading »