Physics: Ohm’s Law
Students used PhET’s circuit construction kit to do a short activity based on the PUM materials to help orient them to the sim, then started looking for a relationship between current and potential difference. I loved it when, during the orientation activity, several groups got curious about the mysterious resistors in the kit, and immediately tried adding them to a circuit to see what they do, without any prompting or intervention on my part. There was also some great discussion and debate in one class about what exactly the blue dots represent. There were also many attempts to electrocute the dog.
Chemistry: Limiting Reactants
After a short percent yield quiz, we had some class discussion to formalize what students found in yesterday’s PhET sim on limiting reactants. I picked some reactant quantities for one of the reactions in the simulation, then had students get into groups and try to predict what they would produce and what the leftovers would be. Before students went to their groups, we had some conversation about what I was looking for. I tried to emphasize that I wasn’t after right answers; instead, I wanted them to share different approaches so we could decide on some useful ways to think about this kind of problem. There was a nice mix of students who focused on the equation given for the reaction and students who sketched diagrams.