I’ve gotten a lot more late work than usual this year, and the problem is especially pronounced when it comes to lab portfolios for AP Physics. My students tell me the portfolio entries are fairly quick and easy to write, so I’m planning to survey them this spring about why they are putting those off. My guess is students simply don’t see the value in the lab portfolio aside from the points. We spend time discussing each lab after it is complete, so the lab portfolio does not add much meaning making. I wonder if a better approach may be to ask students to write a reflection on how their thinking changed over the course of the lab or on their growth when it comes to science practices. I want to take some time this summer to work on what a reflective lab portfolio might look like.
I’ve continued to struggle this year with getting students to make the leap to meaning-making; students are especially struggling to connect different representations of a scenario or articulate what those representations mean. One of the results has been that students rarely use those representations if they aren’t explicitly asked. We’ll be starting projectile motion next week, and I think it will be worthwhile to really take our time getting to the math in order to spend more time than usual working with the velocity vs. time graphs and other representations.
This year is the first time I taught the 1st trimester of Chemistry Essentials, and I had the opportunity to teach it both tri 1 and tri 2. This summer, I want to spend some time working on the storyline for this course. I used a lot of elements from the Modeling Instruction chemistry curriculum, but I modified a lot in order to meet the Minnesota science standards assigned to this trimester of the course and to adapt to the needs of my students. Especially since chemistry is not my strong suit, the result feels like an awkward Frankenstein. I think with some work, I can get to something that feels more cohesive and has a better flow.