Day 167: More Topo Maps

Earth Science: More Topo Maps

Students finished their assignment for reading a St. Paul topographic map. I touched on the idea of contour lines as lines that show equal gravitational potential energy, but a lot of students had trouble wrapping their heads around that idea. I didn’t do much connecting ideas back to energy this tri, so I think they just were out of the habit of thinking about energy. I’d love to re-work the 9th grade science curriculum to use energy as a foundation for the whole course, but with some changes in my department’s staffing, I probably won’t be teaching 9th grade for a while. Maybe I can talk some of the 9th grade teachers into running with the idea, especially if Minnesota adopts the NGSS.


Day 166: Topographic Maps

Earth Science: Topographic Maps

Students spend some time interpreting topographic maps. One of the maps we used today shows a region of St. Paul near the school, and I was surprised at how excited students were to connect the map to places they know. If I do this again, I want to think about how I can revise the activity to take advantage of that interest.

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Since seniors finished on Friday, I have the rest of the day free and spent it cleaning my classroom. Last week, the seniors hid class of 2017 notecards around the school, and running across those made cleaning my room a little more fun. I also found an eraser someone had glued to a drop in the ceiling. I’m not sure when or why that happened.

Day 165: Marshmallow Challenge & Topo Maps

AP Physics: Marshmallow Challenge

Today was the last day of school for seniors, so we wrapped up presentations. One student who studied piano physics was excited to share his insight that a grand piano is effectively a frequency vs. wavelength graph. Afterward, we did the marshmallow challenge.

The winners!

The seniors brought produce this week as a spin on apples for teachers. When some students were discussing what would be the weirdest option, I suggested a coconut. The next day, here’s what a student brought:

Earth Science: Topo Maps

Students worked on identifying topographic map symbols and interpreting a sample map.