Day 156: Base Sliding & Synthesis Day

Today is Tartan’s Relay for Life and one of my classes got visited by the infamous purple toilet. Note the Canadian bill donated by one of my students.


AP Physics: Base Sliding

Students are wrapping up data collection and analysis for their final projects. I’ve got two students looking at the physics of sliding into a base to try and answer whether feet first or head first is better. They’re in different hours, so I’m not too worried about the repetition, but they are also looking at some different perspectives. One is looking at angular momentum as the player moves from running to sliding while the other is focusing on the actual slide. Its actually a little too bad they are in separate hours since it could be fun to have them compare notes.

Earth Science: Synthesis Day

I feel like this unit has been pretty disjointed and students are not making connections between volcanoes, mountains, folds, faults, and plate tectonics. I had them work through some conceptual questions today to explicitly draw connections between those ideas, which illuminated some specific areas I need to revise in this unit. For example, one of the questions asked students to determine whether mountains or volcanoes are more likely to have folds, and it came out that a lot of students don’t have a mental model for how a fold forms.

Day 155: Hockey Pucks & Vocab

AP Physics: Hockey Pucks

Students continued to work on their projects today. One of my students is analyzing momentum transfer between a hockey puck and a stick and found a surprising result. He expected the puck to have a fairly constant acceleration while in contact with the stick, but his data shows a big jump in the puck’s acceleration when the blade of the stick starts to flex. The next challenge is to try and figure out why!

Earth Science: Vocab

This class had a sub today, so no photos. There’s been a lot of vocabulary this unit, so I had student work on a short activity to put the vocab into student-friendly language and do some synthesis with the terms. I’ll find out tomorrow how things went.

Day 153: Charlie Brown & Volcanic Landforms

AP Physics: Charlie Brown

Students continued work on their projects. One student did some video analysis of a clip of Charlie Brown kicking a football to explain why he falls down after Lucy pulls it away.

Earth Science: Volcanic Landforms

I did some notes on volcanic landforms, but tried to break it up a bit by explicitly having students annotate their notes at a few points during class. I also tried a “give one, get one” at the end since many of my students have been skipping writing questions based on their notes, but I don’t think students saw the value in that activity. Partly, since I’ve managed to cut down on the notes, I haven’t spent much time laying the foundation for Cornell notes, and students haven’t had much practice in my class writing questions based on notes.

Day 151: Space Yo-Yos & Volcano Types

AP Physics: Space Yo-Yos

Students continued work on their projects. I showed students Rhett Allain’s recent post on fidget spinner physics as a really strong example of what I’d like. Yesterday was also the last AP exam that a large percentage of seniors at my school take, and the combined result is a lot of students seemed much more focused on their projects today. In one hour, a student was talking through the physics behind some yo-yo tricks, and started trying to figure out which tricks should work in space and why. Turns out, there is video evidence for some of the tricks he said don’t require gravity!


Earth Science: Volcano Types

Today, I introduced students to the three main types of volcanoes. First, they predicted whether wet sand, ooblek, or a pile of scoria could make a taller volcano to get them thinking about the physical properties that lead to the shapes of the different types of volcanoes.