Day 16 – Tracking Grades



Physics 11 – Students had their first quiz today. I also showed them how they will be keeping track of their grades this year. The idea is that on any given day, they can look at their learning portfolio and see what they are getting on each learning objective.  Each learning objective is rated on a scale of 1 to 3.  When reporting term marks, the latest rating for each learning objective is used to generate a grade (percentage).

More on my flavour of SBG can be found on my PhysicsOfLearning Blog.

If I was smart, I’d rename my grading scheme from SBG (Standards Based Grading) to LOBG (Learning Objective Based Grading).

Day 14 – Buggy Challenge


Physics 11 – Today the students had their first buggy challenge.  I asked them to use their graphs from their CV Buggy lab to develop a strategy for predicting where the fast and slow buggy will collide if they’re given a time.  A few groups got the idea right away, while some groups really wanted to calculate something. Overall the students came up with good, workable ideas.

After completing their challenge, students continued along with some modeling worksheets.

Day 13 – Pro D Day


Today was a Professional Development Day, so no action with students.  Because of the chaos of the move into our new school, today was mostly spent by the teachers sorting out their rooms and equipment.  It’s not traditional proD, but it was very needed.

The above picture shows the beanbag chairs we have in commons areas, and they’re pretty awesome. I’m hoping to get a couple for our home.

Day 10 – Position


Physics 11 – Today the ideas of position and clock readings were reinforced.  Most of the work we do in physics is recorded as a lab, practice/thinking questions and some reflections.  There are times where I give a handout though, to make sure everyone has the same information.  It’s really important to hammer home the idea that we general read positions in labs, and then we calculate distances.  Of course, often those distances are extremely easy to calculate, like when an object starts at a position of 0.

Day 9 – Paperclip Lab #2



Science 9 – In an effort to unravel what happens with the paperclips, I had the students walk through an experiment which would hopefully isolate one variable to test.  The Independent Variable turned out to be heating time, keeping everything else the same.  This time around the students were careful to pay attention to flame height, where in the flame the paperclip was placed, etc.  Unfortunately the results were just as inconclusive as before.

Day 8 – First Board Meeting



Physics 11 – The discussion around the boards was a bit rushed but I think it was useful for the students to see each others work and results.  They got the idea of the slope being velocity and the  y-intercept being the starting point.  As we see here, shaking the y and x variables will be difficult.  It was also apparent that not every person in each group knew exactly what was going on.

Day 7 – Physical Properties


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Science 9 – As an introduction to Bunsen burners and matter/physical changes, the students altered the stress/strain of paperclips with a bunsen burner.

I personally find this activity quite confusing.  The basic idea is that a paperclip will break after being bent after X number of twists.  Another paperclip is heated and air cooled and the experiment is repeated. Finally another paperclip is heated and cooled in a beaker of water.  The results go all over the place.  All we can conclude is that heating a paperclip makes it last longer before breaking. Untreated paperclips seem to break after 6 bends.  Heated and water cooled paper clips can last over 40 bends.  Sometimes the water cooling makes the last longer, sometimes it makes no difference.  The heating is difficult to control and the cooling happens very cooling no matter what method (air or water) is used.  I wrap up the experiment by talking about grain size and how it affects physical properties, which is glossy over a lot but is all that is needed at this point.