Day 119: Whiteboarding

AP Physics: Central Force Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded some problems dealing with a central net force. My students who have taken Astronomy are pretty excited with the connections they are seeing to orbits. I also pulled up a simulation of Newton’s Cannon to talk about a problem that asks why the ISS doesn’t crash into the earth.

Physics: Projectile Motion Mistakes

We did the mistakes game, focusing on the diagrams and initial set-up for problems rather than all of the math. There are a lot of long silences, so I might try giving students some structure for additional pre-discussion with their lab groups next time. Maybe students could do a gallery walk and jot down some potential questions for each whiteboard. There are a lot of groups opting to use “vertical” energy to solve for key values, which is pretty cool.


Chemistry Essentials: Balancing Mistakes Game

We did the mistakes game with yesterday’s problems on balancing chemical equations. I’ve got the opposite problem of my physics class, where lots of students have things to say, which leads to too many people talking at once. Most of my contributions end up being to re-focus the discussion or redirect students, rather content-related questions to move things along. I’m okay with this problem, even if I’m not sure how to solve it yet.


2 thoughts on “Day 119: Whiteboarding

  1. I’m always wondering how different people use white boarding in their classroom. Would you mind explaining a few ways you do? You’ve mentioned that classes whiteboard some problems from the previous day. Does this mean that each group get assigned a problem to present, and that everyone has attempted each of the problems? Would most students have the correct solution already?

    Any descriptions you can provide are appreciated!


  2. The short answer is it varies 🙂 Kelly O’Shea has some great posts on whiteboarding that influence a lot of what I do:

    Most of the time, on day 1, students work on the problems on paper in small groups. They look at all the problems, but the majority of students have at least some problems wrong or incomplete. On day 2, each group gets assigned a problem to present. I default to Kelly O’Shea’s mistakes whiteboarding, where groups include at least one intentional mistake. The mistakes give a lot of great opportunities for discussion and they add a layer of social safety since there is a natural cover for unintentional mistakes.

    If students are finishing problems and getting the right answers easily, that’s when I tend to shift to a gallery walk. Each group is assigned a problem to whiteboard, but they just go for a complete and accurate solution. One member of each group stays with the whiteboard to answer questions while everyone else visits each whiteboard to make sure they understand the problems.

    My favorite whiteboard sessions are when we’ve got a problem with some meaty conceptual thinking to work through. I give students some time to start, but not finish, the problem in their small group before everyone whiteboards the problem and we have a consensus-building discussion. It takes the right problem and a class with a good rapport, but they are consistently where the most learning and thinking happens in my classroom.


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