Day 12: Springs, Buggies, & Board Meeting

AP Physics: Springs

Students pulled on springs with force sensors to get data for Hooke’s Law. I usually have students who expect a horizontal spring to behave differently than a vertical one, so I took advantage of the force sensors to have students collect data for one of their springs in both orientations. When groups started to notice they have the same slope in both orientations, many of them started talking about whether that makes sense, which was fantastic.

Physics: Buggies

Students finished their data collection and prepped whiteboards for the buggy lab. One student came up to tell me he was thinking about how he could use the data from this lab. In particular, he wants to give the slow buggy a head start, then figure out where the fast buggy will pass it. I let him know that will be our next lab practical.

I’ve got a decent number of students who are struggling with math skills, such as finding slope or plotting negative values, and I need to adjust how I’m addressing that. I’ve been giving small group instruction as needed, but I’m spending a lot of time with just a few groups and missed others who were on the wrong track with this lab until pretty late. I’m toying with some options like providing math “cheat sheets” or having some mini lessons during the class for groups who need help, but I’d really like to develop a culture where students are relying on each other for some of that.

Chemistry Essentials: Board Meeting

Today went pretty smoothly; I think yesterday’s work on norms helped, though I need to make sure it doesn’t feel like a punishment next time. When I reviewed the norms at the start of class, a student asked if I actually like about teaching them, so I spent a few minutes sharing some examples of when I’ve really enjoyed their energy.

Students whiteboarded their results from this week’s volume lab. There are a big range of math skills in the class, but once groups compared the values on their data tables, they had an easier time getting at what the slope means. We hadn’t talked about the thickness of the sides, so I was excited when a student asked how it would change the results if the shapes were made of much thinner plastic.