Day 42 – Arduino Enthusiasm


Engineering Physics – We finally had a bit of luck today and most of the computers logged in fairly quickly. Students got to make their first Arduino sketch and circuit. The main goal was to choose an appropriate sized resistor to match an LED, build the circuit with a breadboard, and make the LED blink. Some groups were quicker than others and they started to develop their own more complicated circuits involving multiple LEDs.

The students were pretty pumped and many asked me if we could work on the Arduinos again next day. The plan is for them to build a timing system using photoresistors, so yes, we’ll be using the arduinos.




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In Physics 11, the students started off with a Plickers kinematics question. I chose a question that would likely lead the students to use d=vot + 1/2at^2.  The wrong answers included not squaring the time, and not considering that there was acceleration (using d=vt instead).  I then challenged students to create fully annotated graphs from a different problem.  We did a gallery walk with the whiteboards and I wrote down properties of the graphs that we agreed were good to include.


Day 84: Energy Bar Charts


Physics 11 – I was introduced to energy bar charts through the physics modeling program, and it is one of the best things that I’ve introduced to my students.  So much of the conceptual material for energy in physics 11 is covered with these bar graphs.   All that is missing is the algebra and calculations.

The students were really engaged while working through practice questions on bar charts.  I think this work really hits the sweet spot for the Zone of Proximal Development for the majority of students.  The charts are new, thought-provoking and manageable.

I have been following the modeling curriculum fairly closely until now.  I’m not equipped to do any experiments with energy.  Rather, I’ll be use direct instruction that that the area under the curve of a Force-Displacement graph is energy. This will lead into the concept of working, and the formulas for gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy.