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This category contains 21 posts

Graphical Solutions for Forces and Kinematics (Workshop Recap)

I gave a workshop with Mike Pustie in NYC in June and with Casey Rutherford in Minneapolis in July on using a graphical approach to solve kinematics and force problems. I wrote a bit about the content involved in my preview post, and I wanted to follow that up here by making the slides and … Continue reading

Free, Unofficial Workshop during AAPT in July

Graphical Solutions for Forces and Kinematics On the Sunday of the AAPT summer meeting (July 27th), Casey Rutherford and I are offering a free, unofficial1 workshop on using velocity graphs and force vector addition diagrams to solve kinematics and force problems. I was really lucky to get to also work with Mike Pustie earlier this month to … Continue reading

Mechanics: 3 Fundamental Principles

So you’re thinking in terms of physical models now instead of in terms of chapters, units, or equations. Now what? Is there a high-level ordering of these ideas? How are they connected? Are there common themes? One activity that I’ve done to help students build higher-level organization into their thinking is concept maps (which I … Continue reading

Drawing accelerated position-time graphs

During our PLC chat this week, we talked at one point about how long it takes for students to become completely consistent in drawing motion graphs. My experience has been that students become confident relatively quickly in drawing the velocity-vs-time graphs (having switched their brain into thinking through v-t graphs), but still sometimes struggle to draw … Continue reading

Physics Soul-mates

The day-to-day work in my class happens in at tables in an “individually together” manner that I described in the Whiteboarding Mistake Game: A Guide post. Quick summary of “individually together”: Students work at tables on problems in their packets. They mostly work on their own, take a moment to consult and debate with the … Continue reading

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

Here’s a binder. And the handshake. [As they walk in, I’m handing out their binders (with materials, labeled dividers, spare graph paper, their names on the sides) and shaking their hands as we make the transaction. I’ve seen some discussion in various places online about the appropriateness of shaking students’ hands on the first day of school. … 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

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