Day 44: Central Forces & Orbit Wrap-Up

AP Physics: Central Forces

Students whiteboarded their results from Monday’s activity. In the computer lab, there was a lot of debate about what forces were acting on the weight, so I had students include an FBD for the weight on their whiteboards, which lead to some fantastic discussion in my second hour. Students had strong opinions on whether or not there should be a force to balance the tension and were quick to offer an argument one way or another. Even better, a number of students who are usually quiet during whole-class discussions put ideas and arguments out there. Along the way, students connected this back to the bowling ball lab, where one of their tasks was to get the bowling ball to travel in a circle using a rubber mallet. This was the first time I really felt like I got to just sit and listen while my students figured out something important together, and it was fantastic. As the class came to a consensus, one student captured his take with the “mind blown” gesture and sound effect.img_2473

Earth Science: Orbit Wrap-Up

Students took a few minutes for students to finish their measurements for the look at the orbit of Halley’s Comet, and we discussed the results. Interestingly, when we looked at the total distance to the focal points, the class averages for Halley’s Comet was better than the class averages for Mars. When I played with the data on my prep, I saw that one group got dramatically different results from the rest of the class. Tomorrow, I’d like to take some time to look at that with my students to get at the idea of outliers and how to handle them in science.


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