Day 156: Final Project Work & Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Final Project Work

Students continued working on their final projects. One group is working on how the speed of a basketball affects the rebound of a backboard. They were working on some energy bar charts today and came up with some interesting notation; they labeled their kinetic energy blocks with “H” and “V” to keep track of how the components of the velocity were changing and how that fit with the energy.

Physics: Mirror Calculations Gallery Walk

Students did a gallery walk of yesterday’s problems. My sub from yesterday commented on how well they’d collaborated on the problems, so I was surprised that my students felt very lost on the problems. Once we started whiteboarding, it was clear they knew how to do the problems, but just weren’t confident yet.

I’ve also been randomly assigning groups almost every day, and I’ve come to enjoy the first few minutes of whiteboarding. Students immediately start comparing answers and approaches with the other people in their group and have lots of great conversation about similarities and differences in their work.

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Chemistry Essentials: Nuclear Notation Gallery Walk

Students whiteboarded yesterday’s problems translating between different representations of an isotope for a gallery walk. Afterward, we started working on some problems writing out nuclear reactions for alpha and beta decay. I wish the decay problems started with some where the nucleus is reasonable to draw to help make identifying the products of the decay more concrete.

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Day 152: Final Projects, Board Meeting, & Activity Series Practical

AP Physics 1: Final Projects

Final project proposals are due tomorrow, so students worked on finalizing their topic. I got to have a lot of fun conversations today to help students narrow down their topic. One student had picked out a clip from The Cat in the Hat but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with it, so we spent some time talking about the physics involved.

Physics: Curved Mirror Board Meeting

We whiteboarded the results of yesterday’s lab to get to the mirror equation.

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Chemistry Essentials: Activity Series Practical

Students got a pre-1982 penny and a post-1982 penny, each with a wedge cut to expose the insides, and used an activity series to predict which would react with hydrochloric acid.

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Day 141: Free Response, Quiz, & Limiting Reactants Lab

AP Physics 1: Free Response

We worked a few released free response problems related to angular momentum. I also set up a couple of angular momentum demos, including a spinning Hoberman sphere. Students seem to be grasping the big ideas, which is good since we only have a few more class days before the AP exam!


Physics: Quiz

Students compelted a groupwork reflection, then took their quiz on ray diagrams for shadows and pinholes. I’ve only glanced at their work, but I’m pleased with how the quizzes look.

Chemistry Essentials: Limiting Reactants Lab

Students did a reaction with copper chloride hydrate and aluminum. I had different groups use different quantities so that the limiting reactant varied by group; students were really intrigued by the stark differences in some of the finished reactions. Students did very well using “for every” statements to do stoichiometry when the particle diagrams don’t work. I am glad I introduced the statements yesterday with Pivot; I think starting that skill without having to worry about good lab technique helped it sink in better.

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Day 140: Whiteboarding & Pivot Limiting Reactants

AP Physics 1: Board Meeting

Students whiteboarded their results from yesterday to get to a definition of angular momentum, as well as the relationship between torque and angular momentum. They made nice connections to conservation of linear momentum as well as impulse.

Physics: Ray Diagram Mistakes

We did mistakes whiteboarding with yesterday’s ray diagram problems. Students were doing very well figuring out which rays were critical to the problem and catching each other’s mistakes.

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Chemistry Essentials: Pivot Limiting Reactants

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

Students used Pivot Interactives to do a lab involving limiting reactants. Since lab data makes it tough to use particle diagrams, I tried having students convert their balanced reaction equation into “for every” statements. A lot of them were pretty successful using those statements to make sense of the other calculations I asked for.
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Day 139: Angular Momentum, Ray Diagrams, & Limiting Reactants

AP Physics 1: Angular Momentum

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

Students used Pivot Interactives to explore collisions that involve angular momentum. I especially like the activity they have with a marble fired at a wood block since it provides an opportunity to review linear momentum, as well as discover a relationship between torque and angular momentum.

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Physics: Ray Diagrams

Students sketched ray diagrams to explain their observations in Friday’s lab. Students were able to make good connections between their ray diagrams and their observations.

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Chemistry Essentials: Limiting Reactants

Students whiteboarded some limiting reactant problems, emphasizing the particle diagrams that could be used to solve the problems.

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Day 138: Multiple Choice, Pinholes, & More Limiting Reactants

AP Physics 1: Multiple Choice

After a short quiz, we used Plickers to review some multiple choice. There was a lot of good discussion about the problems and some good test-taking strategies also came out of the conversations.

Physics: Pinholes

Students made observations and dew ray diagrams for some pinhole viewers. They had some trouble getting images at first, but, once they got the hang of it, seemed to enjoy the lab. It was a nice, sunny morning, so we went out the back door of my classroom to look at things, but it was also chilly, so most students went back inside when they were drawing ray diagrams.

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Chemistry Essentials: More Limiting Reactants

Students did some limiting reactant problems involving polyatomic ions. All of the problems were ones that could be solved by drawing a particle diagram, and students seem to be embracing those as a problem-solving tool.

Day 137: Lots of Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Unbalanced Torque Whiteboarding

We did some mistakes whiteboarding with some torque problems. Students made great connections to what they already know about unbalanced forces, which is making it possible to move quickly through the topic.

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Physics: Ray Diagram Whiteboarding

Students whiteboarded some ray diagrams from yesterday’s shadow lab. They made the connections I wanted them to make and were making sense of how the ray diagrams fit with what they saw.

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Chemistry Essentials: Limiting Reactant Whiteboarding

We did some whiteboarding of limiting reactant problems emphasizing the particle diagrams as a problem-solving tool. I haven’t pushed the diagrams as much this year as in the past, and it showed on a quiz I graded earlier today. Now is time to start rectifying that mistake!

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Day 136: Board Meeting, Shadows, & Limiting Reactants

AP Physics 1: Unbalanced Torque Board Meeting

Students whiteboarded their results from yesterday. They quickly and easily made the connections I was after and the idea of rotational interia seemed to click well.

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Physics: Shadows

I did a quick intro to ray diagrams. I like to clap some chalk dust over the beam from a laser pointer to show the light travels in a straight line. This year, I followed up with clapping chalk dust over a flashlight beam to see the cone of light and motivate drawing multiple rays, which worked very nicely. Students then played with shadows and drew ray diagrams to explain their observations.

Chemistry Essentials: Limiting Reactants

Students worked on some limiting reactant problems. Based on some questions students asked yesterday, we also revisited a reaction we’ve done with magnesium and hydrochloric acid. I set up one flask with indicator and hydrochloric acid to use as a reference. In the other two flasks, I also added magnesium and tasked students with making observations to determine what the limiting reactant was in flasks 2 and 3, which they answered using a CER.

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Day 154: Resistivity, Ray Diagrams, & More Activity Series

AP Physics: Resistivity

This year, I skipped over resistivity, so my students who took the AP Physics 1 exam last week had some trouble with free-response problem 2. Today, we took some time to look at the problem and discuss strategies for solving without any knowledge of resistivity. The students who took the test last week were very willing to share how they approached the problem, which was better than anything I could have said.

Physics: Ray Diagrams

Students worked through a worksheet on ray diagrams for pinholes. Students worked pretty quickly and confidently, so we had time to whiteboard answers for a gallery walk. There were some great conversations where students brought up their observations from the lab the past few days to decide whether their ray diagrams made sense.


Chemistry Essentials: More Activity Series

Students worked on some additional problems identifying probably reactions using an activity series. I also had students predict the products of the reactions; since we haven’t done formula writing in a while, a lot of students needed a refresher. Once they got started, however, the problems quickly became pretty easy for students.

Day 153: Levitating Globe, Pinhole Viewers, & Hollow Pennies

AP Physics: Levitating Globe

The approach I’ve fallen into in order to give students time for their final projects while embedding some review for the students who will be taking the AP Physics 1 exam on the make-up date. Today, I got out a globe that floats in a magnetic stand and asked students to predict what should happen to the reading on a balance when the globe is removed, an idea I got from Kelly O’Shea. One group did a thought experiment where the magnet was replaced with a spring supporting the globe to reason their answer and had a great conversation.

Physics: Pinhole Viewers

We discussed some of the results of yesterday’s lab, focusing on how a ray diagram can explain the observations students made. Students are pretty quickly getting then hang of making sense of these diagrams.

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Chemistry Essentials: Hollow Pennies

Students did a conceptual lab practical on activity series today. I gave students an activity series for metals, then asked them to predict whether copper or zinc is more likely to react with hydrochloric acid. Then, I gave each student a penny with a wedge filed into it to test their prediction. I also showed students the hollow remnants of a penny that had been left in 12M hydrochloric acid for a few hours.

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