I don’t do lab reports. Maybe that’s a strange way to begin, here, but stick with me. I haven’t found lab reports to be useful assessment tools in the past. Instead, I have claimed that our work in the lab is too important to grade. It’s the basis of all of our knowledge. On the one… Read More Assessing Scientific Abilities
AKA Inventing a New Flavor of Energy Storage When we start the energy unit, we usually pick up 4 flavors (kinetic, gravitational, spring, and thermal) and note that we will recognize and name other ways of storing energy when we see them. That happens pretty immediately when we do pie charts. We run into a problem pretty… Read More Tic Tac Bounce
This fall, I will be starting my 2nd year at a really cool progressive day school in NYC. The science curriculum is in the process of evolving, but the current program has 9th and 10th graders rotating twice through physics, chemistry, and biology (in any order) on a trimester system. This past year, I taught… Read More Circuits and Charges: A Physics Active Exam
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… Read More What if we didn’t finish all of the questions?
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… Read More Graphical Solutions for Forces and Kinematics (Workshop Recap)
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… Read More Free, Unofficial Workshop during AAPT in July
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… Read More Mechanics: 3 Fundamental Principles