Day 112 – Conservation of Energy




Physics 11 – The class had another good day today.  Similar to their work on bar graphs, today the students too what they know about energy calculations and bar charts to apply them to conservation of energy questions. We had some good discussions and questions again.  Overall the students competently solved problems with little intervention from me.  If this is constructivism, then it isn’t always bad.  Why this works in this case is that students have all the prerequisite knowledge to solve these problems and they’re ready for a new challenge.  The calculations themselves are easy, and the kids are getting very good at bar graphs.

I really like this approach because it turns conservation of energy problems from applied math (Eg1 + Ek1 = Eg2 + Ek2 + Eth, solve for the unknown) to understanding energy transfers.


Day 106 – Energy Transfer and Bar Charts


IMG_1856.JPGPhysics 11 – Having sorted through pie charts, played with the Phet Energy Skateboard Park, and given a worked example, students were put into groups and each group was given a different situation to analyze in terms of energy transfer.  We then got together for whole class discussion and exhibition of worked solutions.

Some great observations by students

“Since there’s friction, shouldn’t some of the kinetic energy transfer to thermal energy?”

“On the left side you have 5 bars but on the right side you only have four.”

All in all, very good classes today.

Day 104 – Energy Skateboard Park


Physics 11 – After a two year hiatus, I returned to the Phet Energy Skateboard Park. This was the student’s first exposure to energy bar charts, after having spent a class on discussing energy as storage systems, and representing energy storage in pie charts.

The handout in the picture above has some leading questions for the kids to use while exploring the simulation. They didn’t hand in the worksheet. Instead, I used some plicker questions to check their understanding.