Day 1: Bowling Balls, Dowels, & Steel Wool

The first day of school is in the books!

AP Physics: Bowling Balls

This concept development sequence comes from conversations with Michael Lerner, Kelly O’Shea, and the rest of the Physics! PLC!

I’m starting the year with momentum, so the first idea I want students to build is the impulse-momentum theorem. Today, we started with a version of Frank Noschese’s bowling ball & mallets activity. For the first time, when I asked students to whiteboard the pattern or rule they’d found, I had multiple groups write out the classic wording of Newton’s 3rd Law. These groups struggled to connect their statement to the lab, but still resisted changing their whiteboard because they knew their statement was true. I think this happened because we don’t have the class culture yet for every student to feel comfortable taking an intellectual risk. Tomorrow, I want to spend some time on the difference between true statements and useful statements to push some of those students away from quoting textbooks.


Physics: Dowels

We’re starting the year with a unit on experimental design and graph interpretation based around a series of labs. For the first one, students are graphing mass vs. volume for some dowels. Things went well overall, but I should have spent a little more time on how to find the volume; I just told them to find it, and a lot of groups weren’t ready to make that leap on their own the first day of school.


Chemistry Essentials: Steel Wool

Students started the mass and change lab from the chemistry Modeling Instruction curriculum. To make the histogram, I had each group write their change on a Post-It, then place it in a physical bin matching their value before I transferred the Post-Its to the whiteboard. The balances were acting up, so most groups saw pretty big changes.

chem histo

4 thoughts on “Day 1: Bowling Balls, Dowels, & Steel Wool

  1. Pingback: Day 10: Force of Gravity, Lab Practical, & Volume | stoeckel180

  2. Pingback: Day 57: Tri 1 Reflections | stoeckel180

  3. Pingback: Day 58: Scoring Guide, Broken Circles, & Steel Wool | stoeckel180

  4. Pingback: Day 166: Year-End Reflections | stoeckel180

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s