Physics 11 – Today was another A-Ha! day for me. It became apparent to me that my physics students were utterly confused on when to draw a best fit line and when not to. I had seen warnings of this, but today I found just how confused the kids were.
Starting with constant velocity, we used graphs to tell the story of an objects movement – moves forwards fast, slows down, stops, then moves forward again, etc. When conducting experiments, we collect position and clock reading data, plot the data, and analyze using best fit lines on linear relationships. To the kids, this is all lumped into the category of “graphing” and they’re not sure when to draw lines from point to point, and when to use a BFL.
I went over the topic, talking about constant motion vs story telling, but I don’t think many kids really got it. There was a lot of head nodding, but still a lot of confusion I think. This is also the time of year when we really need to move on. It’s just not worth getting into an endless rut of graphing.
So the real question is, how to motivate students that don’t get it, to come in for extra help and get past any hurdles they are experiencing?