Day 84 – Friction

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Physics 11 – Today’s lesson is typically one of my favorites for the year.  Students brainstorm factors that affect friction and then they test out their ideas.  In the past I let the students have all the say in their work.  However, last year I noticed that several groups were doing pretty crazy stuff – mostly they weren’t measuring forces at all. In other words, they weren’t clear on what was the dependent variable in their experiment.

So this year I gave them more structure:


This helped with the experimental design but there was an unintended consequence.  The students gave up their agency. The day became more about me.  In general the students were asking “what do I do next?” and saying “I don’t know what to do.”

I’m not sure what I will do next year. If I had more time, I would run through the above sheet on a different experiment, and then let them figure it out for the friction inquiry.

Here is a link to the above Friction Experiment document.

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