Day 75: Coulomb’s Law & Mystery Tube

Physics: Coulomb’s Law

Students worked a few problems using Coulomb’s Law. I was really pleased to see how smoothly students integrated what they’d learned about Newton’s Laws back in November with the new concept. Something about today lead several students to say they feel like they finally understand how to learn physics, which was great to hear.

Chemistry: Mystery Tubes

After this week’s lab, I wanted to spend some time on observations, inferences, and the nature of science. We talked a bit about the difference between observations and inferences, and what makes a good example of each, then asked them to make some observations and inferences about a few photographs. A photo of a crying baby lead to some great discussion when I started to list the crying under observations and several students disagreed and proposed some other explanations for the baby’s facial expression. I love it when students are confident enough in their ideas and comfortable enough in the classroom to challenge me. After the photos, I got out a pair of “Mystery Tubes” and asked students to try to come up with some inferences about what’s inside the tube, then use toilet paper tubes and string to test their inferences. There was some great discussion as students proposed ideas, then challenged what their peers were thinking, always talking about the evidence they have. Going forward, the challenge will be to make sure students are bringing those same skills and enthusiasm to more standard chemistry labs.


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