Day 54 – Whiteboarding Hooke’s Law

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Physics 11 – Students presented their results on whiteboards today. In one class it is like pulling teeth to get students to talk in a whiteboard meeting. It is incredibly frustrating. I spoke with a few students after class, and they thought that maybe 1/2 the class was actually able to answer or question things that were said during the meeting, but chose not to.

Students did a good job of determining that the slope of the line on a Fs vs x graph is the stiffness of the spring, so that was pretty cool. Many groups didn’t think to find the equation of the line which was another beat my head against the wall moment. I really would like to get a modeling workshop here in Vancouver so I can improve on this aspect in my classes. Students are slowly coming around to the idea of modeling physics, but other details like having the kids take over discussions in class, along with timing on topics, continue to elude me.

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Day 50: Force Diagrams and Balanced Forces

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Physics 11 – I tried this problem with two blocks of physics 11.  The first block I had the students work individually and the second block they were put into random groups and did the problem on whiteboards.  As I’ve seen in other situations, the whiteboard groups had much more success. I don’t think it was a case of the strong student doing all the work – there was definite dialogue and sharing of ideas. However, the class ended soon after this question and I didn’t get the chance to do much formative assessment with individual students.

I love this question though, as it hits many topics covered in the past few days:

  • weight is the force of gravity
  • scales measure normal force
  • springs can support a surface, which exerts a normal force (equality of forces, reasoning)
  • you should draw a FBD when solving problems