Day 103: Energy Practical & Explanations

AP Physics: Energy Practical

I tried a new lab practical for energy in an effort to integrate rotation and spiral back to some old ideas. Back in December, students measured the launch velocity of a marble, then predicted where it would hit the floor. Today, I had them use conservation of energy, including rotational kinetic energy, to find the launch velocity of their marble, then predict where it would hit the floor. I saw a lot of students pull out their old work, including their lab from December, to help remind themselves how to do the projectile portion of the problem, which is exactly what I hoped they would do. I overheard several students talking about how much they liked looking at an old problem through a new lens, as well as seeing how old ideas fit with the new ones.

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Physical Science: Explanations

Students practiced making predictions and writing explanations using Newton’s Laws. I showed students some videos and clips, including one from Smarter Every Day and an animation of the Mars Pathfinder landing, then had them write an explanation individually, followed by a revised explanation with their whole group. I was struggling more than usual to keep my students focused, but part of the problem might have been the English test next hour and the pep fest this afternoon. I’ve got some demos I’m planning to have students write explanations of as warm-ups, and I probably would have been better off using the demos today, then using the videos as warm-ups.

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