Day 22 – Graphing Constant Acceleration

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Physics 11 – Students continued to work on their constant acceleration lab, creating the position – time graph, and then using it to get velocity information.  I think there are some problems with this lab, where the students have to be told how to use the x-t graph to get velocity.  They get the idea but it involves a bit of hand waving.

Day 21 – Concept Mapping Organelles

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How to make a concept map
How to make a concept map

Science 8 – No, it’s not groundhog day… My 2nd science 8 class: After writing out the function for each organelle, I get the students to make a concept map on “Cells”.  This activity asks the students to synthesize their ideas into an overall picture.  The first half of the class is spent looking at examples of concept maps, and key features that the students should focus on.  Here is the link to the handout I use for this activity: Cell Concept Map

Day 20 – Acceleration Lab

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Physics 11 – Today the students starting working on the modeling paradigm lab for constant acceleration.  Most students used the track and spools that I had made, which have a nice slow acceleration. Others tried using a steel ball rolling down the rails.  The ball is difficult to use because it goes pretty fast. However, students started to use the video on their phones to capture position and clock readings.  At first they thought they’d use the video timer, but that doesn’t work (I think they’re using slow motion video but the timer doesn’t convert).  However, kids started to figure out that they could place a second phone/timer in the video.  Smart!

Day 19 – Concept Mapping Cells

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Science 8 – I like to introduce concept mapping to my students, starting with the grade 8s.  I use the above graphic to show how there are different levels of complexity in concept maps, and how more links with proper linking words demonstrates a better understanding of a central topic.

The students had already found and defined the different organelles in a cell, but making a concept map is method for them to piece all of the organelles and functions together and see how they are all connected.

Day 18 – Reflections

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Physics 11 – Students were given two opportunities to think about what they’ve been doing in class.  The first question was a quick one I had them answer on their mini whiteboards, and most kids had a hard time answering why they had to do a graph. A few were able to reason that they’re using graphs to model something they were analyzing.

Students also had an assignment to reflect on their quiz in the Moodle course site.  Only about 1/2 of my students completed this very easy 2 minute assignment.  I’m even more amazed this year as to how little students are willing to engage in technology as a tool for education. They love phones for messaging, YouTube, videos, games and music, but that’s about it.  Everything I see right now points to a continuing erosion of positive interactions with the internet.  I get the feeling that the class website will be completely underutilized.

Day 17 – Atomic Story

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Science 9 – I think the development of atomic theory over the years is an interesting story and highlights how science theories evolve over time.  Rather than memorize some facts, I like using activities like making a comic as a way for students to put thoughts and facts into their own words.  Students were asked to recreate this story using whatever method they’d like. Some did a comic, some did an instant messaging chat, some wrote a short story.