Day 99: Quiz, Projectile Practical, & Quiz

Classes were a little shorter than usual today due to our winter week pep fest.

AP Physics 1: Quiz

Students took their oscillating particle model quiz on springs. The ones I’m grading so far look great, which is nice to see.

Physics: Projectile Practical

Students worked through a practical to predict where a horizontally launched projectile will hit the floor. Once students got a success, I had them predict which way they should move their target for a relatively light marble.

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Chemistry Essentials: Quiz

Students took their quiz on the Bohr model of the atom. Students are starting to feel pretty comfortable reading their periodic tables and anticipating key properties, which bodes well as we move into formula writing.

Day 98: Whiteboarding Galore

AP Physics 1: Oscillating Spring Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded some problems for a mass on a vibrating spring. They are recognizing the parallels to pendulums and successfully connecting a lot of the ideas I want them to connect.

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Physics: Projectile Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded some problems for horizontally launched projectiles. A lot of students are making good use of energy to simplify the math on the vertical motion and things seemed to click for a lot of students today.

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Chemistry Essentials: Bohr Model Whiteboarding

Students used the Bohr model of the atom to whiteboard structures for some of the first 20 elements, also bringing in what we figured out yesterday about isotopes. I ask students to predict the two most common isotopes, which requires rounding the average mass both up and down, and a few students had some trouble with rounding to predict isotopes like H-2, but they were able to get there with some support.

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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 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 44: Whiteboarding, 2nd Law, & Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded some constant acceleration problems for a gallery walk. These problems are coming very easily to most of my students, which is great to see.

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Physics: Second Law Lab

Students collected data for a paradigm lab on Newton’s 2nd Law. Some students were a little thrown off by recording values from a graph in a data table, then making a new graph from the data table, but that’s fairly common.

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Chemistry Essentials: Bohr Model Whiteboarding

We whiteboarded and discussed some key information from the periodic table and Bohr model for several different elements. Students lit up at the end when I had them leave off the name and the number of protons, then have another group try to figure out which element they’d answered the rest of the questions for.

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Day 43: Whiteboarding, Assessment, & Isotopes

AP Physics 1: Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded yesterday’s problems for a gallery walk.They are definitely taking to velocity vs. time graphs very quickly.

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Physics: Assessment

Students took their assessment on balanced force problems today. We’ve been using weekly packets, and including a groupwork reflection at the end of each packet. We’ve been consistently using the same three questions, but switched to a rubric from Colleen Nyeggen for a change of pace. Several students were very vocal that they liked that the switch pushed them to think a little differently about their participation this week.

Chemistry Essentials: Isotopes

This course usually includes the fairly classic penny isotope lab where students figure out the ratio of pre-1982 pennies to post-1982 pennies in a sealed container, but the math always felt like a black box in this course, so I came up with an alternative. Today, I tried having each group find the average mass of a random sample of pennies, then comparing that average to the mass of each type of penny. Groups really consistently saw that their average was closer to the typical mass of the type of penny they had more of, which lead nicely into identifying the most common isotope of elements on the periodic table. The key moment seemed to be when I had students whiteboard their average mass and which type of penny they had more of.