AP Physics: Pushing Blocks
Students worked on a problem I’ve come to really like where three blocks of different masses are being pushed along by a certain force. Based on some of the struggles a few groups were having, I think it would be worthwhile to pause sometime soon to do a model summary. I loved the moment when students figured out how to use the 3rd Law to think about the normal forces between each pair of blocks. The best thing I overheard, though, was a student who said “You need to convince me you’re right! If you can explain your idea and your evidence, then I’ll believe you.”
Earth Science: Kepler’s 2nd Law
Students plotted the position of Mars along its orbit, then cut out some wedges that represent the same amount of time. We used the mass as a stand-in for area to show that an orbiting object sweeps out the same area in the same amount of time. We got really nice results; the class average for the mass was within 0.01 g for the two wedges. I think students lost track of what they were plotting, however, so I need to think about how I can reinforce what the numbers they are plotting has to do with the actual path of Mars.