Day 32: Dueling Fan Carts & Climate Change

AP Physics: Dueling Fan Carts

I borrowed Frank Noschese’s dueling fan carts activity to reinforce the relationship between net force and motion. We had some good whole-class discussion about using system schema to determine which forces matter. My fan carts don’t produce exactly the same thrust, so there was some acceleration with combinations like high vs. high, but I was pleased at how quickly my students jumped to wanting to find a combination of settings where the forces did balance.


Earth Science: Factors in Climate Change

We’ve done a lot of reading graphs and data tables related to climate change, but haven’t really had a chance to synthesize the observations. I used a slide deck that goes one factor at a time and uses actual data to give students the opportunity to determine the impact each factor has on climate. I envisioned this being very discussion heavy, but I was having trouble getting student input and it quickly became more of a lecture, I think in part because I kept students in their desks. I think next time I need to get them at lab tables using whiteboards to get them more actively engaged.

Day 31: Quiz & Human Impacts

AP Physics: Quiz

I missed my AP Physics classes today to chaperone a field trip. they took a quiz on system schema and free-body diagrams, then worked on some 2nd Law problems. It was around this time last year that it finally clicked for me what system schema are for, so this is the first group of students I’ve had that really “get” that representation and truly find it useful. Based on their quizzes, we do need to spend some more time on internal vs. external forces, as well as how to pick your system when the problem doesn’t specify.

Earth Science: Human Impacts on Climate

Students used several different representations of emissions to answer some questions about pollution and its effects. The activity gave students a lot of opportunities to practice reading data tables and graphs, but I found my students did pretty superficial interpretation. My students also made pretty limited connections to the earth science content, and I think finding ways to go deeper on the data interpretation will help with the content connections.

Day 30: Plickers & Ice Core Data

AP Physics: Plickers

I finally graded the first full-length test over the weekend and wanted to go over some of the questions students struggled with. I put the multiple choice questions that students got wrong most often into Plickers and had students vote individually, then discuss with other students, then vote again. There was a lot of great discussion along the way. In my 4th hour, I tried showing them the graph of responses after individual voting. That class came to a correct consensus less often than my 2nd hour where I kept the graph of individual responses hidden, but they also had much deeper conversations. I can’t decide how much of the difference I’d chalk up to the personality of each class and how much I think is a result of running the voting differently; I’ll probably experiment some more next time.


Earth Science: Ice Core Data

Students used a graph of temperature changes, CH4 concentration, and CO2 concentration to look for patterns. It was clearly tricky for them to make sense of multiple data sets on the same set of axes, especially since there are three different vertical scales. The first question helped orient them to the horizontal axis, so I think I will add some scaffolding to explicitly focus them on the vertical axes before looking for patterns.