Day 106: Assessment Bonanza

Tomorrow was originally scheduled to be a staff development day, so all three of my classes took assessments wrapping up their last topic.

AP Physics 1: Waves Assessment

This quiz included an experimental design problem off a past AP exam. My students still find those kinds of problems really intimidating, but I’m really pleased with the work on the quizzes I’ve looked at so far. In general, both this year and in the past, I’ve had a lot of trouble helping my students feel as confident as I think they should when it comes to the AP Physics 1 exam, and I think their reaction to experimental design problems is one symptom. I have noticed that one of my sections is much more confident, and I don’t think its coincidence that they are also a MUCH smaller section. As we get into the home stretch to May 7, I need to give some thought to how I can help all of my students recognize the progress I’ve seen in them.

Physics: Pendulum Assessment

Students took their quiz on pendulums, then started working on a final review.

Chemistry Essentials: Formula Writing Assessment

Students quizzed over formula writing. Most were feeling very good about their work at the end of the quiz, which is a great place to be at the end of the term.

Day 105: Standing Waves, Whiteboarding, & Covalent Bonding

AP Physics 1: Standing Waves

Students worked on some problems for standing waves in pipes. Students seemed to be getting the hang of waves, which is good since we need to wrap up this topic tomorrow!

Physics: Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded yesterday’s pendulum problems. One problem describes g on the ISS as “close to zero”, with the intention that students treat it as if g were zero, but the wording was enough to trip up a lot of students. I’ve been pushing them to read carefully and pay attention to details in the problem, so this was a good problem to have.

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Chemistry Essentials: Covalent Bonding

Students worked on translating between names, formulas, and particle diagrams for compounds with covalent bonds. We didn’t get into how to figure out the formulas from the number of valence electrons, so this ended up being pretty easy compared to the ionic bonding we’ve been working on.

Day 104: Standing Waves, Pendulum Problems, & Polyatomic Ions

I dropped the ball on taking photos today.

AP Physics 1: Standing Waves

We discussed the pattern in the number of wavelengths that appeared on a rope fixed at both ends, then I tasked students with determining whether the same pattern applies in other situations. Students were able to recognize the 1/2 wavelength pattern falls apart in some situations. Tomorrow, we’ll firm up the 1/4 wavelength pattern that fits these situations.

Physics: Pendulum Problems

Students worked on calculations and conceptual problems for pendulums. A lot of students were making good use of units to verify their work.

Chemistry Essentials: Polyatomic Ions

Students worked on writing formulas and sketching particle diagrams for compounds that include polyatomic ions. Students made good use of the simplified Lewis dot structures we’ve been using to work out the correct formulas and were able to make the leap to distributing subscripts for the polyatomic ions.

Day 103: Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Waves Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded problems from Friday. There was some great discussion about particle motion in a longitudinal wave in one class, and we ended up getting out a slinky and tieing a ribbon to one of the rings to try and see the motion first-hand.

Physics: Pendulum Representations Whiteboarding

We whiteboarded and discussed some problems sketching representations of a pendulum’s motion, including free-body diagrams, energy bar charts, and motion graphs. Students made a lot of good connections over the course of the discussion. On some of the questions, there were multiple approaches to the answer, which was great to see.

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Chemistry Essentials: Chemical Formula Whiteboarding

I gave students some problems where they had to decide whether a given chemical formula is likely, then we whiteboarded their answers for some discussion and a gallery walk. I especially liked the discussion that came out of a a couple of problems that included metals, like lead and copper, that can form multiple charges during ionic bonding.chem formula wb.jpg

Day 102: Problems, Board Meeting, & Making a Compound

AP Physics 1: Wave Problems

Students worked on some problems dealing with waves.

Physics: Board Meeting

We had part 2 of a pendulum board meeting where students shared their linearized graphs. I use the units to work from the slope students got to the full pendulum equation, but I’ve never been all that happy with how it goes. I need to keep thinking about how to improve the way I approach this lab.

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Chemistry Essentials: Making a Compound

Students made some observations of iron and sulfur to figure out whether it formed a new compound after mixing or after being heated. Students were pretty successful at figuring out when the key change happened.

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Day 101: Board Meetings & Mistakes Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Wave Board Meeting

Students whiteboarded their results from Tuesday’s lab. They pretty quickly made the connection that the slope is the wave speed and saw the relationship I wanted between tension and wave speed. I’d planned to use Pivot Interactives to do some wave superposition basics, but our internet was out district wide for part of the day, so ended up doing some pretty teacher directed stuff with a snakey spring.

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Physics: Pendulum Board Meeting

Students whiteboarded their results for the pendulum lab. I didn’t have any groups decide to linearize on their own, so we had some discussion about the intercept to decide we needed to linearize.

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Chemistry Essentials: Formula Mistakes Whiteboarding

We did some mistakes whiteboarding with Tuesday’s worksheet on formula writing and particle diagrams. A lot of students seemed to be getting the hang of this skill today, which was great.

I’m seeing some students checking out, which is typical for this point in the trimester; I think students see it as set by now whether or not they will pass the course. My co-teacher and I have reduced how many students are in that place by having individual grade conferences with each student, which has been especially important for helping students who aren’t passing to make a plan.

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Day 100: Standing Waves, Pendulums, & Formula Writing

AP Physics 1: Standing Waves

I am a part of the Pivot Interactive’s Chemistry Fellows program.

Students used Pivot Interactives to find a relationship between wavelength and frequency for a standing wave. Students had trouble with some of the vocabulary and with visualizing one wavelength; I usually start with a day of qualitative observations with snakey springs, but skipped that to make up for the week our school was closed. Students were still able to figure out what they needed, it just took a little more coaching than usual.

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Physics: Pendulums

We had some discussion to brainstorm what could impact the period of a pendulum, then students went to work collecting data. There was some good discussion of how much variation was enough to matter when students were working on angle and mass.


Chemistry Essentials: Formula Writing

Students practiced translating between names, formulas, and particle diagrams. We got out some beans to use as manipulatives in simplified Lewis dot diagrams to help make ionic bonding a little more concrete.

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Day 53: Day Before Break

Today was the last day to submit work or complete retakes before the end of the term and our last day of classes before Thanksgiving break, so it was a very chaotic day.

AP Physics 1: Whiteboarding

Students wrapped up presenting the whiteboards from yesterday. There was some really great discussion, with students making use of the matter model and connecting to the collisions we’d tested out a few days ago.

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Physics: Whiteboarding

This class also worked on wrapping up whiteboarding some problems. My 6th hour had a really tough time focusing, which was not surprising the last hour of the day before a break. While we still got where we needed to, I don’t think a whiteboard discussion of problems was the right call for today.

Chemistry Essentials: Quiz

Students took their quiz on naming and formula writing for ionic and covalent bonds. Since it was fairly short, we spent some time before the quiz whiteboarding a few practice problems. A few students were focused on last-ditch efforts to raise their grade, and it was tough to re-direct them to the day’s activities. This will be something to think about at the end of next trimester.

Day 52: Mistakes Whiteboarding &Binary Compounds

AP Physics 1: Mistakes Whiteboarding

We started looking at some force problems involving Newton’s 3rd Law by doing some mistakes whiteboarding. There was a lot of good discussion on the directions of normal forces in problems where the normal doesn’t just go straight up.

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Physics: Mistakes Whiteboarding

This class also did mistakes whiteboarding, even with the same problems as in AP. Once again, there was a lot of good discussion on the direction of the normal forces.

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Chemistry Essentials: Binary Compounds

Students practiced translating between names and formulas for binary compounds. Most students took to this pretty quickly and easily, which was great to see.

Day 51: Problems, 3rd Law, & Covalent Bonds

AP Physics 1: Problems

Students worked some problems on balanced forces, with an emphasis on Newton’s 3rd Law. We also started talking a little bit about the final exam, which will be a modified practice AP exam.

Physics: 3rd Law

Students predicted how the forces would compare during a series of collisions, then we tested teach collision out using a a pair of force sensors with hoop springs attached. Partway through the testing, a few students made the connection to Newton’s 3rd Law, which was fun to see.


Chemistry Essentials: Covalent Bonds

I introduced students to covalent bonding today. We aren’t going into much depth on figuring out the formulas, but we did take some time today to sketch electron diagrams (simplified Lewis dot structures) to get at what is going on during a covalent bond.

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