Day 65: Writing Methods & Bouncy Ball Energy

AP Physics: Writing Methods

Today, students started working on a lab practical to predict where a marble will hit the floor when it rolls off the edge of a table. Since my PLC is focusing on experimental design this year, I had each group write a method they could use to consistently release the marble and find its horizontal velocity. Then, I collected a method from each group, shuffled them, and gave each group a method they had to try and follow. In my second section, I told students they should actually find the horizontal velocity, then write the method in a way that the next group should get the same result, which really seemed to help students decide how much detail to include. This also very naturally lead to a lot of groups talking about how big their uncertainty is so they could decide if the group using their method was “close enough.”img_20161214_120111

Physical Science: Bouncy Ball Energy

Students measured the rebound heights as various bouncy balls bounced to look at the energy lost. While students really like the lab (bouncy balls are fun!), they don’t have to do much thinking about energy, even though I added some bar charts and energy questions. Tomorrow, I might pull out the seismic accelerator to have them make some predictions about a stack of bouncy balls in order to get them thinking about energy in these systems a little more.


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