Day 94: Whiteboarding Galore

Today was a tricky day. Between yesterday’s snowstorm and this morning’s wind chill warning, a lot of the districts around here closed. We stayed open, but announced that weather-related absences would be excused (they normally aren’t). I ended up with around half my students gone each hour and had to adjust on the fly.

AP Physics 1: Pendulum Whiteboarding

We had a quiz on deck for today, but I was concerned about how many students would need to make it up. Instead, we spent today whiteboarding some conceptual questions about pendulums.

Physics: Projectile Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded some problems sketching and interpreting velocity vs. time graphs for projectiles. I also got out the demo to show an object dropped and a horizontal projectile hit the ground simultaneously.


Chemistry Essentials: Phase Change Whiteboarding

We’d planned an in-class retake of the phase change quiz today, since last week’s weather meant we took the original late and some students really struggled as a result, so it seems to be a quiz destined for weather interference. We went ahead with giving the in-class retake today, but also spent some time whiteboarding practice bar charts to review beforehand.

Day 90 (finally!): Vocab, Projectiles, & Review

Last week, we cancelled school Monday through Thursday due to snow and cold, then had a planned staff development day on Friday, so students ended up with a full week off school.

AP Physics 1: Vocab

On some grading I did on our surprise week off, I noticed a lot of my students were not distinguishing between different concepts in their writing (I really wanted to quote Inigo Montoya while I was grading). Today, with some inspiration from Kelli Warble, students did some whiteboarding to clarify important terms by starting with the tool they would use to measure each quantity. Students said they found it helpful; I’m hoping it will pay dividends as we move into simple harmonic motion.

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Physics: Projectiles

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

Students used a video in Pivot Interactives that shows three views of a projectile to make position vs. time and velocity vs. time graphs for each component of the motion.

pivot projectile

Chemistry Essentials: Review

The quiz on phase changes had been scheduled for last Monday. Since its been a while, we took some time to whiteboard a problem with frozen broth heating up on a stove. I broke the problem into smaller steps, and had groups pass the marker after each step so the person writing on the whiteboard varied.

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Day 89: Assessments & Mistakes Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Projectile Assessment

Students took their projectile motion quiz. A lot of students told me it was easier than they expected. I tend to find my students are less confident on the material than I think they should be, and I haven’t figured out yet how to help students build up that confidence.

Physics: Energy Assessment

Students took their conservation of energy quiz. We’ve been including a reflection at the end of the packets students turn in on quiz days; since my PLC decided to try using group roles for some of the activities in this packet, we focused the reflection on how the group roles went and I’m looking forward to reading what students wrote.

Chemistry Essentials: Mistakes Whiteboarding

We did some mistakes whiteboarding to go over the bar chart problems students worked on yesterday. My students this trimester have a much clearer understanding of the energy flow section of the diagrams than when I’ve used bar charts in other classes, which has been great to see. Now I need to try and figure out what’s helped them make sense of that so I can repeat it next time I teach the course!

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Day 88: Catching Up, Whiteboarding, & Bar Charts

AP Physics 1: Catching Up

The seniors were watching a play today, so I only saw one section of AP Physics 1. The good news is the section I saw is my much larger class, which is a little behind my other section. Today, I gave them time to finish up the lab practical and work on problems we ran out of time to whiteboard this week.

Physics: Whiteboarding

We got out the whiteboards to go over yesterday’s problems. In my larger section, we did a gallery walk since about halfway through the period I needed to dismiss students for the play. I saw my smaller section for the full hour, and in that class we focused on consensus-building one problem at a time.

Chemistry Essentials: Bar Charts

Students worked on some problems using energy bar charts to describe phase changes. A lot of students found the problems pretty easy and there were some great small-group discussions about a few problems, including one where students sketch sets of bar carts for a drink and for the ice in the drink.

Day 87: Projectile Practical, Energy Problems, & Board Meeting

AP Physics 1: Projectile Practical

Students finished predicting where a marble rolled off a lab table will hit the floor. Once students have a success, I gave them a lighter marble and asked them to predict where it will land without taking any new measurements.


Physics: Energy Problems

Students worked on calculations using conservation of energy. This was a tougher leap than I expected given how easily students got the hang of setting up conservation of momentum problems from bar charts. I think a card sort similar to the one we did for momentum would have been a good stepping stone.

Chemistry Essentials: Board Meeting

Students had a board meeting with their results from yesterday’s lauric acid lab. I had students collect data for the acid both melting and freezing, which made for a good visual of how similar those processes are. Students also made some good connections to last week’s activity in Pivot Interactives. I think starting with the cleaner data helped students to see the patterns in their data and there was some great conversation about why everyone had the same temperatures on their flat sections today while different groups got different temperatures on their graphs last week.

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Day 86: Projectile Practical, Bouncy Ball CER, & Lauric Acid Phase Change

AP Physics 1: Projectile Practical

Students started working on predicting where a marble rolled off the edge of a table will hit the floor. As a wrinkle, I left it open how to set up a ramp to launch a marble and how to measure the horizontal velocity, then had students write a procedure. Groups exchanged procedures with the goal that they should get the same velocity as the group who wrote the original procedure. My goal is for students to get some low-stakes feedback on this kind of writing.

Physics: Bouncy Ball CER

Students finished up with the bouncy ball lab we’ve been working on and whiteboarded CER statements for what is dissipating the bouncy ball’s energy. There was good consensus that the impact has a much bigger effect than air resistance. We used a worksheet to scaffold the pre-work for this activity, so there wasn’t as much variety as when I leave it wide open, but I think students were more successful than they would have been without it.

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Chemistry Essentials: Lauric Acid Phase Change

Students collected data for phase changes of lauric acid. A few groups weren’t stirring, which made their data messier, but the patterns are pretty clear overall, even on the data table.

lauric acid.jpg

Day 85: Whiteboarding, Video Analysis, & Board Meeting

AP Physics 1: Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarding yesterday’s problems. I focused on a consensus-building approach, where all groups whiteboarded the same problem, then we used the discussion to come to an agreement on what the answer should be, and why. Both my sections have a pretty good sense of class community, which made students pretty comfortable sharing work they weren’t sure about yet and building off each others’ ideas.

Physics: Video Analysis

We finally got out the computers to do some video analysis of a bouncy ball to figure out what interaction is dissipating the energy. I’ve never had much luck walking the whole class through the software, so I have a video analysis guide with lots of animated screenshots that I put on the class website. Students were able to get some nice graphs of the bouncy ball’s motion and connect them to our work from the past few days.

bouncy ball va.PNG

Chemistry Essentials: Board Meeting

Students whiteboarded their results from yesterday’s lab in Pivot Interactives. During the board meeting, students continued to share observations faster than I could write them down, which is a great problem to have in this course. It was also very clear to students that the temperature stays fairly constant during the freezing process. I’m hoping having had a board on these results will help students make sense of our lauric acid lab on Tuesday.

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Day 84: Projectile Calcs, Bouncy Ball Diagrams, & Pivot Interactives Phase Changes

AP Physics 1: Projectile Calcs

Students started working on some projectile motion calculations. We also took a few minutes to discuss a new clip from Mythbusters Jr. where an archer attempts to replicate Odysseus’ shot through a series of rings. Students head read the Odyssey in English and were excited to link what they’d read to some physics and Mythbusters and there was some good conceptual discussion about the trick.

Physics: Bouncy Ball Diagrams

We spent some more time whiteboarding diagrams in our efforts to figure out what interaction dissipates a bouncy ball’s energy. It was clear students were a little rusty on free-body diagrams and velocity vs. time graphs, but they were able to make sense of  what the diagrams should look like and there was some good discussion along the way.

bouncy fbd.jpg

Chemistry Essentials: Pivot Interactives Phase Change

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

I usually introduce phase changes with a lab using lauric acid, but have found that while students notice their temperature doesn’t change during the lab, many of the students I see in Chemistry Essentials struggle enough with reading graphs that the small errors and uncertainty in their data makes it tough to pick out the big ideas. This time around, I decided to try starting with a version of the lab in Pivot Interactives. When students weren’t responsible for stirring, the data came out much cleaner. I also found students were much more willing to accept the temperature plateau as something real than I’ve seen in the past. This lead to some great questions about where the heat must be going when the temperature isn’t changing.

Pivot Phase Change.PNG

Day 80: Pivot Projectiles, TIPERs, and States of Matter

The combined forces of a neck sprain and a cold got the best of me, and I ended up at home while my students worked with a sub.

AP Physics 1: Pivot Projectiles

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

Students collected data in a Pivot Interactives video showing three views of a projectile to generate position vs. time graphs and velocity vs. time graph for the motion in each direction.

pivot projectile.PNG

Physics: TIPERs

Students worked on some problems out of TIPERs using energy bar charts as a reasoning tool.

Chemistry Essentials: States of Matter

Students did a short reading out of the textbook to get an introduction to states of matter. My co-teacher also took advantage of how short the activity is to meet with each student about their grade so far.

Day 31: Collisions & Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Collisions

I’m doing things a little out of sequence to work around computer access, so we went back to the collisions lab from Monday. Today the data collection went a lot faster than Monday, which is not surprising since Monday was their first time using photogates.


Physics: Whiteboarding

We wrapped up going over some free-body diagram problems. My 1st hour had enough time to start yesterday, so they did mistakes whiteboarding. My 6th hour was a little more crunched, so I picked some of the trickiest problems and assigned two groups to each one. Then, the pairs of group met up to come to a consensus on the answer before we moved into a gallery walk of all the assigned problems.


Chemistry Essentials: Mistakes Whiteboarding

Students did mistakes whiteboarding for yesterday’s phase change bar chart problems. This class is still pretty quiet, but they are gradually getting better at speaking up during this activity.