Physics 11 – We finally finished the video lab, after 2.5 days on it. Whew. I’m afraid we don’t have much to show for it. A few students had some insightful thoughts on what they observed but really it was too little for too much time spent. I blogged much more about it on my edblog.
One student was able to claim that it seems as though the momentum is transferring from one object to the other, which was a great thought. Another student reasoned that momentum should be conserved since Newton’s Third Law tells us that the forces are the same but in different direction, which means that whatever momentum one object gains, the other must lose.
Physics 11 – This is the lab I settled on for conservation of momentum. Students will use three Direct Measurement videos (dart into cart; Hailey and Connor; Hailey, Connor and Christine) and three videos that they will record themselves of two carts on an air track (head on collision, collision in same direction, collision into a cart at rest). I thought about giving them an Excel spreadsheet for entering in their data, but that would make the experiment very much a “black box”. The amount of time this lab is taking is concerning though.
Physics 11 – A couple of oops in the pictures above… First, the dreaded twisted slinky. This is annoying but I sort of get why it can happen. The quiz however is much harder to understand. What is it about my teaching which allows even one student to have such little understanding to make the mistakes shown above? Sometimes teaching can be frustrating. It’s a constant puzzle to figure out what went wrong. I guess this is the intellectual challenge that keeps it interesting.
Engineering Physics – I finally built my bridge testing apparatus. A bottom beam sits on two bathroom scales. Another beam slides on threaded rod which is attached to the bottom plate, and by tightening the nuts on the rod, the top beam compresses the bridge truss and bottom beam against the bathroom scales.
The bottom picture shows the bridge truss that withstood the greatest force. Lots of bridges failed at glue joints which surprised me. I need to look into that for next year.
Physics 11 – I’m becoming more aware of cognitive load issues in the classroom. This, coupled with my doubts in using the suggested paradigm lab from the AMTA Modeling Instruction resources, I decided to simply tell the students what momentum and impulse are, as well as give some worked examples.
Professional Development – I was fortunate to be able to attend a two-day workshop with Jay McTighe, via the Coast Metro Consortium. Jay’s working partner for many years was Grant Wiggins, who unexpectedly passed away in 2015. McTighe and Wiggins’ books have been very formative for me, particularly Wiggins because of his blog.
I have a couple of McTighe and Wiggins’ books, Understanding by Design and Essential Questions: Opening doors to student understanding, so the content of the workshop wasn’t all that new to me. However, it was a fantastic opportunity to hear about the more subtle aspects of UbD, the kind of thing you can only learn in person. It was also a great chance to collaborate with like-minded people, I feel lucky to have attended. Thanks go out to my Principal, Ranjit Bains, for getting me into the workshop! With respect to my previous post on this blog, Jay really emphasized that “covering content” is not in the best interest of students and that he and Grant explicitly decided to focus on quality rather than quantity. Sacrifices may need to be made in order to achieve the most important things in education. I think that in terms of UbD this means that
To top things off, I was lucky enough to have Jay sit at our table for lunch the second day! Four of us got the chance just to chat about education and share our interesting experiences.
The pictures above come from some collaborative work we did at our table, working on a financial literacy unit for Math 9.
Physics 11 – Today was our first day back after a 2 week spring break. As a bit of a review and to try and treat physics as a coherent story, I had students consider a goal-less problem. Their first task was to come up with some questions that they could answer. I hope to use a goal-less problem for a Performance Task but I’m really starting to feel some pressure in terms of curricular content. For good or bad, it’s weighing on my mind.
This type of performance task is really what it’s all about though. If someone is a student of physics, they should be able to look at a situation and model it, without having someone prompt them through a series of questions.
Physics 11 – Today we did some testing on power. Not assessment testing but seeing “who has the most power?”
I had volunteers run up two sets of stairs, and then we used time and Eg to find which student put out the most power. As is always the case, the heaviest students have the most power for this short test.
I then told the kids about power curves in athletic performances. I thought a few of my higher achieving students would be interested in this, particularly because they also do high level sports, including nordic skiing. The idea is that when you model power output from an athlete, you can plot their critical power. Critical power is the average power they can maintain for any particular time period. In the chart above, Jamar can hold an average of 994 W for 4 s. As the time interval gets longer, the power gets lower. This can be modeled in different ways but it typically gets shown as being some type of second order inverse relation. Endurance athletes, like nordic skiers, are usually most interested in shifting their curve up. A shorter interval athlete is probably more interested in shifting the curve to the right. In any event, none of the students were terribly interested in this. This probably helps explain why they don’t really care that much about modeling in general? Oh, and it was the last day before spring break…
Engineering Physics – Today I received the results from the Thompson Rivers University. As you can see, there is a pretty big jump from the 6 to the rest of the contestants. My students are further down the list. I’m confident that one team’s design was solid but their construction was a bit off – some of the popsicle sticks were a bit crooked and the bridge likely twisted and failed because of the twisting.