Between having a sub on Wednesday and no school on Thursday or Friday, today was all about getting my classes back on track.
AP Physics: Conservation of Momentum Problems
Students whiteboarded the conservation of momentum problems from last Tuesday. Many of the problems require students to shift between thinking about the system as a whole and thinking about individual objects, and interaction diagrams (or system schema) proved to be incredibly powerful tools. The first year I used the Modeling Instruction curriculum, I didn’t quite get them and, as a result, my students never really saw the value, but my students and I are now huge fans.
Physics: Constant Acceleration Problems
On Wednesday, I left my students some problems that included several that started with graphs they’d already sketched and annotated. My students admitted that they made very little progress on Wednesday, partly because they got confused and shut down. This has been pretty common with my students this year, so we spent some time discussing alternative strategies for when they are stuck. Afterward, students whiteboarded the problems for a gallery walk. They are making good progress on connecting the features of the graph to the physical meaning it represents.
Chemistry Essentials: Phase Change Bar Charts
On Wednesday, students watched a short video lecture where I talked about the results of Tuesday’s phase change lab and introduced energy bar charts. While students got nice graphs from the lab, they were confused by the video lecture, so we spent most of the hour discussing it. It turns out the main issue is we haven’t spent much time on what the particles are doing during a phase change, so they weren’t willing to accept that explanation for the constant temperature in the lab without some additional convincing. I fired up a PhET simulation, which seemed to fill in some of the necessary gaps and allowed students to take a much more successful second shot at Wednesday’s bar chart problems.