This tag is associated with 56 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

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

SBG with Seniors

Here’s the problem with Standards-Based Grading (SBG) and seniors: their first quarter grades matter. In my usual approach to grading, the quarter grades are just snapshots. Since they weren’t (at my old school) and aren’t (at my current school) put on transcripts, I have felt free to use them as moments for students to check … 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

Offside Assessments

Or, No More Cherry Picking (and How to Stop Doing That) The Goal of Standards-Based Grading (SBG): Use standards to give students specific, useful feedback that will help students know what to practice to improve their understanding and performance and you (the teacher) know how to help the students and what to keep testing. 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

Physics Objectives 2013

Here are my updated lists of objectives for the year (subject to change/grow as the year unfolds depending on how the pace goes). As always, feel free to borrow and modify these objectives for your own classes. The Model Building page on this blog collects my posts about my paradigm experiments, the graphical representations we use, … Continue reading

All-year Goal-less Problems for Physics Class

So. Josh* took my Honors Physics exam review activity and expanded it into something bigger and better. As I was reading his post, though, I started thinking about my regular physics classes. They would really like something like that. Of course, I also had to make it my own. I am curating a set of … Continue reading


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