Day 50: 3rd Law, Elevator, & 2 Truths

AP Physics 1: 3rd Law

We took some time for students to generate a rule based on the collisions we observed yesterday. A few students connected the results to Newton’s 3rd Law and we were able to connect the results to the system schema, showing there was a single interaction between the carts.


Physics: Elevator

We finished discussing a video of a balance during an elevator ride to figure out which way the elevator was moving. At first, a few students thought I might have ridden the elevator down, then up to get the two different accelerations, but the class was very successful at working through why a single ride needs two different accelerations.


Chemistry Essentials: 2 Truths & a Lie

To continue practicing formula writing and naming, we played “Two Truths & a Lie”. Each group prepped a whiteboard with two correct names and formulas, and one name and formula with an error. This class struggles with whole-class discussion, but this has produced some good small-group discussion. One student came up to me during class to say she really likes the formula writing since it’s allowing her to talk more like a chemist and understand what the formulas mean, which was cool to hear.

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Day 49: Newton’s 3rd Law, Whiteboarding, & Polyatomic Ions

AP Physics 1: Newton’s 3rd Law

Students predicted the relative forces on two carts in various collisions, then we tested them using a pair of carts with force sensors. I really like using hoop springs for this since it gives a very clear visual in addition to the force vs. time graphs.


Physics: Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded the problems they worked on yesterday for a gallery walk. We set up the packet to re-use the problems we had that just deal with representations.

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After discussing the problems, I showed students a video I’d recorded on our elevator and asked them to write a CER for whether I took the elevator up or down.


Chemistry Essentials: Polyatomic Ions

We added polyatomic ions to the formula writing we’ve been doing. Students seem to be getting the hang of how to figure out the formula. Some students have figured out the “flop and drop” strategy, and others are opting to draw the simplified Lewis dot structures we’ve been using when they get stuck.

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Day 48: Mistakes Whiteboarding, Problems, & Mistakes Worksheet

AP Physics 1: Mistakes Whiteboarding

We did mistakes whiteboarding for yesterday’s problems. I had students focus on the diagrams and the set-up for their whiteboards, rather than worrying about getting all the way to a correct answer during the discussion. I overheard a lot of students who wanted to get the answer on their whiteboards comment they couldn’t do the problem without a correct diagram, which tells me they are seeing how to use the diagrams.

Physics: Problems

Students worked on some calculations with unbalanced forces. I’m really liking the pairing of motion maps with vector addition diagrams; this has been a light bulb moment for me of why motion maps are useful.

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Chemistry Essentials: Mistakes Worksheet

Students worked on some written problems where they had to determine whether a given formula was reasonable. I intentionally included some metals with multiple possible charges, so they would have to consider each possibility before ruling out the formula. After students had worked, they whiteboarded the problems for a gallery walk.

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Day 47: Card Sort, Mistakes Whiteboarding, & Formula Writing

AP Physics 1: Card Sort

Students whiteboarded two of the items from yesterday’s card sort that they found trickiest. Not surprisingly, the item with an air hockey puck that glides at a constant speed was a very popular choice. I didn’t tell students anything about what the vector addition diagrams represent and there was a great moment during one section’s discussion where a student said the new diagram really reminded him of vector addition in math.

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Physics: Mistakes Whiteboarding

We did some mistakes whiteboarding with representations of objects with unbalanced forces. There was a lot of good discussion. I regretted not pushing students to draw acceleration arrows on motion maps, because this is a time when it would have really paid off.

On a side note, there were several problems about a passenger on an elevator. While the problem did not include any gendered language, about half the students who whiteboarded that problem changed passenger to “guy” or “man” while the other half stuck with something gender-neutral.

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Chemistry Essentials: Formula Writing

We did a gallery walk of yesterday’s formula writing problems. Most students seem to be making sense of what the charges on their ion sheet represent and figuring out how to write the formulas. At the end of the hour, we spent some time going over the different representations we have and what the purpose of each is.

Day 46: Card Sort, Board Meeting & Formula Writing

AP Physics 1: Card Sort

Students worked on Kelly O’Shea’s balanced forces card sort. Since they haven’t seen vector addition diagrams yet, I tried holding those back until they’d sorted everything else, which worked really nicely. I was also much stricter than I was in my regular physics that students needed to sketch the interaction diagrams, and that seemed to really help students think through each scenario.

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Physics: Board Meeting

Students whiteboarded their results from Thursday’s lab on Newton’s 2nd Law. My 1st hour got pretty nice results, including slopes that came out very close to the masses of their carts, but my 6th hour had much messier data. I ended up telling students to focus on a few specific whiteboards when we were talking about some key points, which seemed to work out fine.

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Chemistry Essentials: Formula Writing

We started working on writing chemical formulas. I had students sketch simplified Lewis dot structures on whiteboards, then use beans as manipulatives to figure out the correct chemical formula. The students who took the time to sketch and use the diagrams were very successful at thinking through the formulas I threw their way.

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Day 45: Quiz, Force Representations, & Bonding Intro

I had a sub today, so no pictures. I’ll find out Monday how things went.

AP Physics 1: Quiz

Today’s quiz was maybe closer to test length. I included the notorious bumpy ramp problem (which I really love); my students are still uncomfortable with problems that don’t reflect something they’ve already seen, so I think this will be a great one to have some discussion on how students approached it.

Physics: Force Representations

Students worked on some problems extending the representations we’ve been using for forces to unbalanced forces. I’m hoping this will be a relatively small leap. It occurred to me this worksheet could have been a nice card sort, but I didn’t think of that far enough in advance to get copies run and cut, plus I’d prefer to be in the classroom myself the first time my students complete a new card sort.

Chemistry Essentials: Introduction to Bonding

Students worked on a worksheet designed to bridge what they know about the Bohr Model to bonding. Students also took a quiz and, since students had a really tough time working on something new after last week’s quiz, the para, my co-teacher, and I all agreed to try putting the quiz at the end of the hour this time.

Day 103: Mystery Circuits, Explosions, & Formula Relay

AP Physics: Mystery Circuits

Students did a lab practical from The Physics Teacher to figure out how three light bulbs were wired together without opening the boxes. I did a little extra front-loading by asking students to sketch circuit paths and KVL diagrams, which set them up nicely to figure out what was going on in their box. A lot of students are disappointed that this is effectively the end of our circuit unit; its too bad I can’t direct my students towards the electronics courses in the IT department since they are seniors.

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Physics: Cart Explosions

Students started collecting data on a series of cart explosions to introduce conservation of momentum by plotting the ratio of the cart masses vs. the ratio of the distance each traveled in order to hit the end stops simultaneously. I didn’t overhear any groups anticipating where to start their carts, which is unusual for this lab, but some groups were able to make limited predictions with a little prompting.


Chemistry Essentials: Formula Relay

Students did some more formula writing practice. Today, I had them work on whiteboards and required them to rotate who did the writing. A lot of my groups have fallen into a pattern where one or two people do most of the intellectual heavy lifting, and it was clearly challenging for them to have to articulate what to do instead taking the marker. There were also some students who have been relatively passive during group activities who seemed like they started to get the hang of formula writing, which is exactly what I hoped.

Day 102: Whiteboarding

AP Physics: Circuits Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded yesterday’s problems on circuits. Students are recognizing the value of sketching circuit paths and KVL diagrams more quickly than some of the other diagrams this year. My students say its because the value of the diagrams is very obvious, but I think its a factor that they’ve come around to the value of other diagrams in the class.

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Physics: Impulse Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded yesterday’s problems. A lot of students referred back to last week’s paradigm lab on impulse and Friday’s qualitative problems, which was fantastic. I also had some students who couldn’t remember doing either the lab or problems and struggled quite a bit today as a result; I need to keep working on helping these students see the value in being an active participant in their lab group.

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Chemistry Essentials: Formula Writing Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded yesterday’s problems naming formulas with polyatomic ions. Each day, things are clicking for a few more students. One of the big keys is understanding the relationship between the charge and the electron diagram. At this point, I’m leaving it up to students whether to sketch the electron diagram, but many are choosing to sketch it because they find it helpful.


Day 101: Circuits, Quantitative Impulse, & Polyatomic Formulas

I had a sub today, so no photos.

AP Physics: Circuits

Students started working problems using Kirchoff’s Laws. Since our post-lab discussion was cut pretty short, I put a suggestion on Google Classroom to try building some of the problems in PhET’s circuit construction kit; I’ll be curious to hear whether any students tried that.

Physics: Quantitative Impulse

Students started solving problems using the equations for momentum and impulse.

Chemistry Essentials: Polyatomic Formulas

Students translated between names and formulas for compounds that include polyatomic ions. That is usually a tricky shift in this course, so I’ll be making sure we go over the worksheet carefully on Wednesday.

Day 100: KVL Diagrams, TIPERs, & Formula Writing

Today classes were shortened due to a pep fest.

AP Physics: KVL Diagrams

We had a very brief discussion about the results of the labs from Wednesday and Thursday; students were consistently very successful at picking up on they key patterns I wanted them to see. I also introduced them to Trevor Register’s KVL diagrams. I like to pair that with color-coded current paths on the circuit diagram.


Physics: TIPERs

Students worked through some conceptual problems on impulse and momentum, mostly taken from TIPERs to get them thinking about what the equations we have so far really mean. A lot of groups really wanted to start by guessing an answer, then come up with some physics to justify it, rather than the other way around. I’ve been encouraging students to use CER with these types of problem, starting with the evidence and working towards the claim, but I’m tempted to try and talk my department into switching to ERC to make the evidence first more explicit.

Chemistry Essentials: Formula Writing

Playing the mistakes game yesterday seemed to help some students start to make sense of writing chemical formulas, though a lot of students still need more practice. Today, I gave students some formulas and asked them to determine whether they are possible based on what we know about bonding. This seemed to help the concepts click for a few more students.