Physics: Period of a Spring
Students designed experiments to determine the variables that impact the period of a spring. I was very pleased with how many students pulled up their notes and results from the pendulum lab, in spite of the fact that it was on the other side of a week-long break, to help with experimental design and make sense of their results. For next year, I want to look at getting some additional springs. A lot of groups wanted to find a way to test the impact of the spring constant, and I only have options with relatively extreme spring constants, which made it tricky to get meaningful data.
Chemistry: Balancing Chemical Equations
Students used PhET’s Balancing Chemical Equations sim as an introduction to what it balancing means. Last tri, I had a lot of groups skip straight to the game and play using trial and error, missing out on most of the sense-making. This tri, I took a few minutes to talk with students about why I structured the activity the way I did and students took the sim’s introduction and the questions I’d written much more seriously. Next time around, I want to add some questions to get students to focus a bit more on the significance of the subscripts vs. the coefficients.