Day 88: Collisions & Mirrors

AP Physics: Collisions

Students finished collecting data to compare momentum before and after a collision of two carts, then had just enough time to talk through results. I just gave students a data table from the Modeling Instruction curriculum, but I think my students could have handled something more open-ended as long as I can plan how I will make sure students get a good variety of collisions. I ended up falling into a pretty teacher-centered “discussion” after the lab to limit how much time we spent, but I think we missed out on a really good opportunity to talk about uncertainty and assumptions. Next year, I might have each group do just a few collisions so we spend more time discussing the results.


Physical Science: Mirrors

I gave students three questions about the images formed by a mirror and tasked them with writing a CER for each question. This is the least structured lab I’ve given students so far this year, which made some students nervous, but I was pleased with the results. I had students whiteboard their CERs so we could have some discussion, but I had students stay at their lab tables and a lot of students kept going back to small group discussions. I think this was because I’ve established a very clear routine where the desks are for whole-class discussion and the lab tables are for lab group discussions. Next time, I’ll probably keep the discussion in the lab area, but have students stand up and move away from their tables to get the physical cue that its time to shift focus to the whole class.

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