Day 97: Assessment, Problems, & Penny Isotopes

AP Physics 1: Assessment

Students took their pendulum assessment, initially scheduled for last Friday. They’ve been very quick to grade since students did really well.

Physics: Problems

Students worked projectile motion problems. A lot of students needed some coaching to remember how to solve problems from a velocity vs. time graph, which tells me we could stand to do a little more spiraling content in the course, but students were pretty successful overall. There was a great moment where a few students were feeling much more confident than usual who objected when someone at their table tried to get help from me before talking about their question with the rest of the table.

Chemistry Essentials: Penny Isotopes

Students used pennies to represent different isotopes of an atom, comparing the average mass of their whole set to the average mass of each type of penny. Because I distributed the pennies pretty randomly, all of the groups ended up with more post-1982 pennies, but I think it would have driven the point home a little stronger if some groups had more pre-1982 pennies.


Day 96: Lots of Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Spring Period Board Meeting

We had a board meeting for the lab on the period of a spring. With all the days we’ve lost due to weather (and the potential for more in the forecast…), I cut it a bit short. My students aren’t in a place where they linearize automatically, but we did have some good conversation about the fact that the intercepts on the period vs. mass graph don’t make sense and students were very quick to come to a consensus that it sure looks like a square root relationship.

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Physics: Projectile Calculations

We revisited last week’s problem about an orange dropped from a tower to transition into projectile calculations. Students got into groups and whiteboarded solving for the time the orange took to fall and its final velocity. In each section, I had one group that opted to use conservation of energy to find the final velocity of the orange, which was a great way to contrast two different approaches. From there, we gave the orange some horizontal velocity to flesh out the calculations. This approach really drove home that students are being asked to remix old skills, not do something new.

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Chemistry Essentials: Bohr Model Whiteboarding

Students did a short worksheet figuring out the Bohr model structure of elements near the beginning of the periodic table. Afterward, students whiteboarded their answers for a gallery walk. I had each group do two elements from the same family to help the pattern in the number of valence electrons pop out.


Day 95: Springs, Graph Jeopardy, & Build an Atom

AP Physics 1: Spring Period

Students collected data to determine what impacts the period of a spring. I always get a kick out of how often I overhear students predicting that the mass won’t matter since it didn’t for a pendulum, only to be surprised.spring.jpg

Physics: Graph Jeopardy

I have this class the first and last hours of the day, which means it was more impacted by last week’s weather than my other classes. I had a quiz on sketching graphs for projectiles today and decided to do some Jeopardy whiteboarding to make sure everyone was in the groove. Each group sketched a pair of velocity vs. time graphs for a projectile, then another group had to come up with a situation that matched the graphs.

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Chemistry Essentials: Build an Atom

Students used PhET’s Build an Atom simulation to explore the Bohr model. This was their first exposure to atomic models in the course, but students were able to pick up on all of the big ideas I wanted by playing with the simulation.

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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 93: Pendulums, Projectile Graphs, & Periodic Table Predictions

Today was a little strange; we had some snowfall that gradually got heavier over the course of the day. While our official release was only 15 minutes early, a lot of kids were excused earlier by their parents. The unofficial gradual release likely made the parking lot much safer after school, but it did make afternoon classes tricky.

AP Physics 1: Pendulum Problems

We used a pendulum in front of a motion detector to take a look at the position vs. time and velocity vs. time graphs for a pendulum, then students worked on some problems connecting earlier topics to the motion of a pendulum. Students made some great connections, with one group having a very involved conversation about how their experiences on a swing connect to what they know about pendulums.

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Physics: Projectile Graphs

Some discussion about a kickball tossed over a motion detector was just what students needed to connect the Pivot Interactives activity from earlier in the week to yesterday’s work on a falling orange. Afterward, students worked on some problems sketching velocity vs. time graphs for various projectiles.

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Chemistry Essentials: Periodic Table Predictions

One of the periodic trends we’ve been looking at is how likely an element is to react. Today, students made a prediction ranking several halogens based on the likelihood of a reaction, then we mixed samples with mineral oil and various salts to see which one was most likely to react. Students were excited that they could make an accurate prediction based on what they know about the periodic table.

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Day 92: Board Meeting, Representing Free Fall, & 2 Truths and a Lie

AP Physics 1: Pendulum Board Meeting

Students whiteboarded their results from yesterday’s pendulum lab. For mass and release angle, there were a couple of groups who sketched graphs that did not start at zero, which was great for having some discussion about why the scale of your graph matters. This was also the first graph students had that wasn’t quadratic or linear, so no groups linearized initially and we had some fantastic conversation about the intercept, which actually started in some groups while they were still prepping whiteboards. By the end of the hour, every group had linearized and was on-board with a square root relationship.

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Physics: Representing Free Fall

Students used some questions I modified from Michael Lerner to represent a falling orange using tools from each model we’ve covered so far this year. By the end of the hour, students commenting that free fall and projectile motion really aren’t anything new, which was exactly the goal! Students were struggling to connect this activity to the graphs we discussed yesterday, so that will be something to work on tomorrow.

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Chemistry Essentials: Periodic Table 2 Truths & a Lie

After discussing some of the trends in the periodic table, we did some whiteboarding to practice reading the periodic table and recognizing the trends. Since there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the questions I could ask at this point, each group prepped a whiteboard with two correct statements and one incorrect statement. Then, they traded whiteboards with another group who had to find and correct the wrong statement.

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Day 91: Pendulums, Projectile Graphs, & Periodic Table Card Sort

AP Physics 1: Pendulums

Students collected data for variables that affect the period of a pendulum. This was a day where I could tell students are getting better at experimental design and more comfortable with being independent; groups were able to work through challenges and surprises with very little input from me.


Physics: Projectile Graphs

Students whiteboarded their results from yesterday’s activity in Pivot Interactives. They had to shake some of the dust off their skills on interpreting motion graphs, but it came back quickly and students made the connections I was after very successfully.

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Chemistry Essentials: Periodic Table Card Sort

Students worked on a card sort to introduce the periodic table. A few students were really eager to know what some of the features of the cards represented, which lead to some great conversations in lab groups about patterns they saw with those numbers.

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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.