AP Physics: Scoring Guide
The tri 1 final exam included some free response problems off past AP tests, so today I gave students the scoring guides and some student samples to make sense of the scoring before letting them see their own tests. One of the problems was problem 3 off the 2016 free response and, inspired by a participant in Greg Jacob’s AP Summer Institute, I used rubber bands to make a bumpy ramp so we could actually try out the experiment in the problem. The class had some good discussion about key takeaways, like the importance of explaining EVERYTHING. Students also noticed that the student samples with high scores had a lot of marking the text.
Physics: Broken Circles
I struggled to get the class culture I wanted in my physics class last trimester and, with students shuffling between hours and about half coming from the other physics teacher, the new tri is a great opportunity to try again. Students worked on a broken circles activity from Designing Groupwork by Lotan & Cohen, then we had some discussion about what it took to succeed and how that fits with what effective groups in physics look like.
Chemistry Essentials: Steel Wool
This course is two trimesters long, and we only offer the second half during tri 3, so I’m restarting the first half of the course with a new group of students. Students measured the mass of steel wool before and after pulling it apart. To help students focus on good lab practice, I had them do the experiment once with minimal instructions. Then, we had a brief discussion to get at some sources of error before students completed the lab again with a handout and a paper plate to help catch stray bits of steel wool. Just like tri 1, I made a class histogram with Post-Its, but the results were much nicer this time.