This tag is associated with 12 posts

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

Extra Tests, Bundled Objectives, and Changes for Next Year

Exam writing is looming just around the corner (May 30th is the big day this year). In response, I am turning to the traditional writing-procrastination technique: entertaining ideas about possible changes for next year’s classes (procrastinating on writing advising letters two years ago resulted in my moving to standards-based grading in the first place, so it … Continue reading

Class Marker Buckets

We (the physics pholks) used to have a big tub of whiteboard markers that stayed in the classroom all the time. We would sometimes come in to find that students had written all over the board the night before (during study hall—boarding school), but the real problem was that very few students felt any obligation … Continue reading

Update: Managing Extra Tests

At this point (just over 3/4 of the way through), I’ve written 221 extra tests this year for my 44 students. Extra tests are individual tests That’s in addition to the 72 in-class tests so far this year (and the 2 end-of-semester exams). Since I last wrote about keeping track of extra testing, I’ve made … Continue reading

Student views on No Physics Homework

I wrote earlier about not assigning specific homework in my classes, a move that I made starting in the 2nd semester last year. I was so happy about how it went last year that I basically continued the policy this year. On my course evaluations two weeks ago, I asked a couple of questions that … Continue reading

Common Types of Forces (BFPM Cheat Sheet)

Before we can start building the Balanced Force Particle Model, we have to overcome some language problems. As was frequently said at the Modeling Workshop that I attended (and is repeated frequently in my classroom), “Physics is a foreign language that sounds just like English.” The word force is a prime offender, so we need to … Continue reading

The essential toolkit for a first time SBG implementer?

This question, “What do you think is the essential toolkit for a first time SBG implementer?” was posted in the comments on my last post. So after rambling a bit myself, I threw it over to Twitter to see what other people had to say. Here’s what I got. A lot of good advice! Know … Continue reading

Choose Your Test Flavor

After a recent Global Physics Department meeting about Standards-Based Grading (SBG), I got to thinking about how I would adapt my grading scheme if I taught more than 40 or 50 students per year (which many of the teachers at the meeting were/are doing). One idea that I had was about doing more of the … Continue reading

Managing extra tests

Students are applying for extra tests (given on Sundays) by filling out the form on our class website during the week. That process is going well, and it lets me prepare tests for them ahead of time instead of scrambling to hand out problems while lots of other students wait around and get anxious/annoyed/etc. Another … Continue reading

Building the Balanced Force Particle Model

Hey guys! [Turn on hover disc. Wait a moment. Turn it off.] Something new! Let’s look at it! I want to show you something cool. Let’s all sit on the floor right here. [Get everyone sitting in a circle in the middle of the room on the tile floor. Turn the hover disc back on. … Continue reading


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