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… Read More Balanced Forces before Constant Acceleration
Next up on the May course evaluation tour: The most important things about this year’s physics classes. These responses are always some of my favorite to read. I’m also including the answers to the question “What are you most proud of with respect to your work in physics class this year?” These responses are typically… Read More May Course Evaluations: What did you learn in physics class this year?
Part 2 of my May course evaluation reflection is centered on standards-based grading (SBG). I’ve just wrapped up year 2 of this radical change in my assessment philosophy and procedure. It has been a huge success. Instead of posting every response, I will just post the best (in terms of feedback, not necessarily the best… Read More May Course Evaluations: Standards-Based Grading Feedback
What is LinReg and how can I get it? Note: This is not meant to be an advertisement. I was in no way solicited by, nor am I affiliated with, the creator of the program. This is a recommendation and love letter about a tool that has made a huge difference in my classes this… Read More LinReg for physics class data graphing
We’ve been pushing graphical methods to solve problems (see: Vector Addition Diagrams, IFF Charts, LOL diagrams, etc) like nobody’s business. So even just a few units into the year, these physics kids may be graphical problem-solving wizards, but a lot of them still hunger for equations in an insatiable sort of way. Even though we… Read More “This is a boss equation.”
Due to differences in math comfort and overall motivation, I take rather different approaches to starting this unit in my two classes. In Honors Physics, we typically spend 4 to 6 class periods worth of work on the entire unit. In the regular physics classes, we spend at least a couple of weeks. Honors Physics… Read More Building the Projectile Motion Particle Model
The graphical solution bug has really gotten me this year (and in the best possible way). I’ve apparently done such a good job of pushing the graphical solutions that one of my classes stopped me in my tracks while I was showing them how to solve force problems by breaking the forces into components and… Read More Force Vector Addition Diagrams (or, Components No More!)