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This category contains 25 posts

July 2015 Workshops and Graphical Solutions for Physics

I am leading two workshops this summer. Both workshops are on teaching graphical solutions in physics. Why are graphical solutions so great in physics classes? Graphical solutions put sense-making at the center of problem solving. They work for all levels of students. They make more challenging problems accessible to students with less math confidence/experience and they … Continue reading

What if we didn’t finish all of the questions?

My Physics 10 (a trimester-long class exploring E&M topics for 10th graders who haven’t yet studied mechanics) was wrapping up some extensions to an electrophorus activity. They were already pros at explaining and predicting electrostatic phenomena, but this activity gave them yet another way to test out their thinking, practice their charge diagrams, and add depth and subtlety … Continue reading

AAPT High School Physics Teacher Camp

I’m so excited that I get to share this news. I’ve been working with a few of the people I met at AAPT in MN on a new, experimental addition to the summer meeting. We’ve been talking about how to make AAPT national meetings more useful, attractive, and worthwhile for high school physics teachers. Workshops are … Continue reading

Physics 10 Course Handout with Advice from Former Students

One of the classes that I am teaching this year is a one-trimester class for sophomores on E&M topics (a very basic class because of the short amount of time and because the students haven’t taken any mechanics). I get to teach it four times this year (twice in the first trimester) as every 10th grader … Continue reading

SBG One-Minute Student Conferences

My current school works on a trimester system. In fact, most of my classes (and all of my science classes) this year only meet for one trimester. For my grading practices, that has meant having to rethink some of the components that have been most successful for me in the past. I’ve definitely worked on … Continue reading

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

NOTE: This post was from 2014. This workshop already happened. Keep reading if you want to know a bit more about graphical solutions in physics. 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 … 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

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