Day 45: Central Force Problems & Historical Astronomy

AP Physics: Central Force Problems

Students worked on a few problems related to central net force causing circular motion. I also introduced Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation as we discussed a problem about orbits. A couple students got really excited when they realized the connection between Universal Gravitation and F= mg; one student decided that called for a dab.

Earth Science: Historical Astronomy

After the quiz on the Moon and planets, I did some short notes on historical astronomy. As part of the effort to incorporate engineering into 9th grade science, the curriculum calls for focusing on the tools astronomers use, but this seems like a great opportunity to incorporate the contributions of diverse groups. Next year, I want to do a better job of balancing the tools with the range of cultures we could talk about. I also want to find ways to make this lesson more active, but need to figure out what I can have students do without making the lesson significantly longer.

Day 43: Assessment Reflection & Movie

I was chaperoning a field trip today, so no photos and lessons that were easy to leave for a sub.

AP Physics: Assessment Reflection

Students took a test combining forces and constant acceleration today. On tests and quizzes, I’ve been asking students to rate themselves on each learning target and write a short reflection, so I took a few minutes to read over the reflections after the field trip. I like getting a sense of where my students feel confident and where they are struggling before I grade the whole test. It was also fun to see what students wrote. I’ve been trying to improve how explicit I am about what is included in a given model, so I was really pleased to see several students tell me that they started each problem by identifying what models apply, then thinking of the “toolbox” that goes with that model. I also was really excited to see a student who has been struggling write that, moving forward, he wants to shift from trying to understand what they answer is to trying to understand why its the answer.

Earth Science: Movie

The earth science curriculum calls for another movie this unit (I think I’ve shown more movies in Earth Science this year than I’ve shown in physics the last several years combined), and I went with it since that’s an easy thing for a sub. I’ve been using the existing worksheets to go with the movies, which have very factual questions in the order they appear in the movie. The next time I show a video, I might try getting the students to do a little more thinking by adapting some reading response techniques like four square notes or a 3-2-1 response.

Day 36: 3rd Law & Cosmic Voyage

Today is day 2 of the NSTA Regional Conference, so students have a sub again.

AP Physics: Newton’s 3rd Law

Students drew free-body diagrams for various cart collisions and predicted how the force on each cart should compare. It usually drives students nuts that I won’t tell them whether they are right in this activity, so I think it will be less frustrating for them to do this with a sub, even if I’ll miss out on hearing them talk it through. On Monday, we’ll put some force sensors on carts and see if the students were right.

Earth Science: Cosmic Voyage

The curriculum calls for showing The Cosmic Voyage during the astronomy unit, so I took advantage of the easy sub plan.