Physics Objectives So Far

In response to a comment asking for a list of the objectives that I’ve been using in my classes, here there are. These are the objectives through the end of the third quarter in both of my classes. The lists are very similar. The main differences are: some of the A objectives in Honors Physics are B objectives in Physics!, we don’t do 2-D graphical vector constructions in Physics!, and Honors Physics moves more quickly.

Honors Physics

Constant Velocity Particle Model
1.1  A  CVPM  I know the difference between vector and scalar quantities.
1.2  A  CVPM  I know the difference between position, distance, and displacement.
1.3  A  CVPM  I can interpret/draw motion maps for objects moving with constant velocity.
1.4  A  CVPM  I can interpret/draw the position vs. time graph for an object moving with constant velocity.
1.5  A  CVPM  I can interpret/draw the velocity vs. time graph for an object moving with constant velocity.
1.6  B  CVPM  I can draw the corresponding position-vs-time graph given a velocity-vs-time graph.
1.7  B  CVPM  I can solve problems involving average speed and average velocity.

Balanced Forces Particle Model
2.1  A  BFPM  I can draw a properly labeled free body diagram showing all forces acting on an object.
2.2  B  BFPM  I can tell when the forces must be balanced for an object based on what I know about its motion.
2.3  A  BFPM  I can use empirically determined equations to determine the gravitational, spring, or friction force on an object.
2.4  B  BFPM  I can use N1L to quantitatively determine the forces acting on an object moving at a constant velocity.
2.5  B  BFPM  I can draw a force vector addition diagram for an object experiencing no net force.
2.6  A  BFPM  When given one force, I can describe its N3L force pair.

Constant Acceleration Particle Model
3.1  A  CAPM  I know the difference between acceleration and velocity.
3.2  A  CAPM  I can calculate the acceleration of an object with direction and proper units.
3.3  B  CAPM  I can interpret the meaning of the sign of the acceleration.
3.4  A  CAPM  I can interpret/draw motion maps for objects moving with changing velocity.
3.5  A  CAPM  I can interpret/draw the position vs. time graph for an object moving with changing velocity.
3.6  A  CAPM  I can interpret/draw the velocity vs. time graph for an object moving with changing velocity.
3.7  B  CAPM  I can describe the motion of an object in words by looking at the v-t graph.
3.8  B  CAPM  I can use kinematics concepts to solve problems involving objects with changing velocity.
3.9  B  CAPM  I can solve a problem involving kinematics concepts by using a graph.

Unbalanced Forces Particle Model
4.1  A  UBFPM  I know the relationship between acceleration, force, and mass.
4.2  B  UBFPM  I can tell when the forces must be unbalanced for an object based on what I know about its motion.
4.3  A  UBFPM  I can represent a situation involving a constantly accelerating object in multiple ways.
4.4  A  UBFPM  I can break a vector into components.
4.5  B  UBFPM  My FBDs look unbalanced when the forces are unbalanced.
4.6  B  UBFPM  I can use N2L to determine the forces acting on an object moving at a constant acceleration.
4.7  B  UBFPM  I can draw a force vector addition diagram for an object experiencing a net force.

Conservation of Momentum Model
5.1  A  COMM  I know the difference between momentum, impulse, force, and velocity.
5.2  A  COMM  I can calculate the momentum of and the impulse on an object (or system) with direction and proper units.
5.3  A  COMM  I can draw and analyze momentum bar charts for 1-D interactions (IF charts).
5.4  A  COMM  I treat momentum as a vector quantity.
5.5  B  COMM  I can use a graphical momentum vector construction to analyze a 2-D interaction.
5.6  B  COMM  I can use the conservation of momentum to solve problems.

Projectile Motion Particle Model
6.1  A  PMPM  I can explain the difference between mass and weight.
6.2  A  PMPM  I can solve problems involving objects in free fall.
6.3  B  PMPM  I can solve problems involving objects experiencing projectile motion.
6.4  B  PMPM  I can accurately represent a projectile in multiple ways (graphs, diagrams, etc).

Conservation of Energy Model
7.1  A  COEM  I can use words, diagrams, pie charts, and bar graphs (LOLs) to represent the way the flavor and total amount of energy in a system changes (or doesn’t change).
7.2  A  COEM  I can identify when the total energy of a system is changing or not changing, and I can identify the reason for the change.
7.3  A  COEM  I can calculate various types of energy present in a system, given the simple equations, and I give them a proper sign (not direction) and units.
7.4  A  COEM  I identify thermal energy as the random motion of the tiny particles of a substance.
7.5  B  COEM  I can use the relationship between the force applied to an object and the displacement of the object to calculate the work done on that object.
7.6  B  COEM  I can use the conservation of energy to solve problems, starting from my fundamental principle.
7.7  B  COEM  I can determine the rate of energy transfer (power) delivered by a particular force (and I know Watt the units are).

Oscillating Particle Model
8.1  B  OPM  I can identify the factors that affect the period of a particle oscillating on a spring and describe the effects of changing each factor.
8.2  B  OPM  I can draw/interpret motion, force, and energy graphs for an oscillating particle.
8.3  B  OPM  I can identify simple harmonic motion and relate it to a linear restoring force.

Central Force Particle Model
9.1  A  CFPM  I can draw an accurate FBD for a particle experiencing UCM.
9.2  A  CFPM  I can calculate the magnitude and direction of the acceleration for a particle experiencing UCM.
9.3  B  CFPM  I can use Newton’s 2nd Law to solve problems for a particle experiencing UCM.
9.4  B  CFPM  I can use a graphical vector construction to calculate 2-D kinematics quantities.

Conservation of Momentum Model (this time with conservation of energy)
10.1  A  COMM  I can determine whether or not a collision was elastic by analyzing the motion information.
10.2  A  COMM  I can qualitatively represent the energy stored before and after any collision.
10.3  B  COMM  I can solve a problem involving a collision by using both conservation of momentum and conservation of energy.

Physics!

Constant Velocity Particle Model
1.1  A  CVPM  I know the difference between vector and scalar quantities.

1.2  A  CVPM  I know the difference between position, distance, and displacement.
1.3  A  CVPM  I can interpret/draw motion maps for objects moving with constant velocity.
1.4  A  CVPM  I can interpret/draw the position vs. time graph for an object moving with constant velocity.
1.5  A  CVPM  I can interpret/draw the velocity vs. time graph for an object moving with constant velocity.
1.6  B  CVPM  I can draw the corresponding position-vs-time graph given a velocity-vs-time graph.
1.7  B  CVPM  I can solve problems involving average speed and average velocity.

Balanced Forces Particle Model
2.1  A  BFPM  I can draw a properly labeled free body diagram showing all forces acting on an object.

2.2  B  BFPM  I can tell when the forces must be balanced for an object based on what I know about its motion.
2.3  A  BFPM  I can use empirically determined equations to determine the gravitational, spring, or friction force on an object.
2.4  B  BFPM  I can use N1L to quantitatively determine the forces acting on an object moving at a constant velocity.
2.5  B  BFPM  I can draw a force vector addition diagram for an object experiencing no net force.
2.6  A  BFPM  When given one force, I can describe its N3L force pair.

Constant Acceleration Particle Model
3.1  A  CAPM  I know the difference between acceleration and velocity.

3.2  A  CAPM  I can calculate the acceleration of an object with direction and proper units.
3.3  B  CAPM  I can interpret the meaning of the sign of the acceleration.
3.4  A  CAPM  I can interpret/draw motion maps for objects moving with changing velocity.
3.5  B  CAPM  I can interpret/draw the position vs. time graph for an object moving with changing velocity.
3.6  A  CAPM  I can interpret/draw the velocity vs. time graph for an object moving with changing velocity.
3.7  B  CAPM  I can describe the motion of an object in words by looking at the v-t graph.
3.8  B  CAPM  I can use kinematics concepts to solve problems involving objects with changing velocity.
3.9  B  CAPM  I can solve a problem involving kinematics concepts by using a graph.

Unbalanced Forces Particle Model
4.1  A  UBFPM  I know the relationship between acceleration, force, and mass.

4.2  B  UBFPM  I can tell when the forces must be unbalanced for an object based on what I know about its motion.
4.3  A  UBFPM  I can represent a situation involving a constantly accelerating object in multiple ways.
4.4  B  UBFPM  I can break a vector into components.
4.5  B  UBFPM  My FBDs look unbalanced when the forces are unbalanced.
4.6  B  UBFPM  I can use N2L to determine the forces acting on an object moving at a constant acceleration.

Conservation of Momentum Model
5.1  A  COMM  I know the difference between momentum, impulse, force, and velocity.

5.2  A  COMM  I can calculate the momentum of and the impulse on an object (or system) with direction and proper units.
5.3  A  COMM  I can draw and analyze momentum bar charts for 1-D interactions (IF charts).
5.4  A  COMM  I treat momentum as a vector quantity.
5.5  B  COMM  I can use the conservation of momentum to solve problems.

Projectile Motion Particle Model
6.1  A  PMPM  I can explain the difference between mass and weight.

6.2  A  PMPM  I can solve problems involving objects in free fall.
6.3  B  PMPM  I can solve problems involving objects experiencing projectile motion.
6.4  B  PMPM  I can accurately represent a projectile in multiple ways (graphs, diagrams, etc).

Conservation of Energy Model
7.1  A  COEM  I can use words, diagrams, pie charts, and bar graphs (LOLs) to represent the way the flavor and total amount of energy in a system changes (or doesn’t change).

7.2  A  COEM  I can identify when the total energy of a system is changing or not changing, and I can identify the reason for the change.
7.3  A  COEM  I can calculate various types of energy present in a system, given the simple equations, and I give them a proper sign (not direction) and units.
7.4  B  COEM  I identify thermal energy as the random motion of the tiny particles of a substance.
7.5  B  COEM  I can use the relationship between the force applied to an object and the displacement of the object to calculate the work done on that object.
7.6  B  COEM  I can use the conservation of energy to solve problems, starting from my fundamental principle.
7.7  B  COEM  I can determine the rate of energy transfer (power) delivered by a particular force (and I know Watt the units are).

21 thoughts on “Physics Objectives So Far

  1. Thanks. This is quite a list. I am really excited, and I have lots of questions. Off the top of my head I am wondering: How did you go about starting the list? Did you / have you collaborate(d) with anyone? How manageable has the assessment system been for you and your students for this size of a list?

    1. I wrote them with the other physics teacher here during the summer. We thought it would be tough, but once we sat down to do it, it turned out to be pretty easy. Narrowing it down to < 10 per unit was a little trickier. We looked at Frank‘s lists before we started, but basically we just sat down and started writing out a list of what we wanted our students to be able to do when we finished a particular unit.

      The only unit that seemed difficult to manage (and only on the teacher’s end while correcting the tests) was the projectile motion one since it basically involved every objective from 5 units (constant velocity, balanced forces, constant acceleration, unbalanced forces, and projectile motion). But other than that, it’s usually very manageable to keep track of everything. We’re using ActiveGrade now, and the kids can log in and check out their progress there (and they do).

      The kids only get the new objectives when we start a new unit. So they get a new sheet of paper with < 10 items on it. It would seem crazy to them at the start of the year if we handed them everything at once, but they really can do most of these things by now. The Honors kids can do almost all of them almost every time. The Intro Physics kids can do most of them, but are a bit less consistent. But they would agree, I think, that they know about all of those skills (whether or not they have completely mastered them yet).

      Does that help? Keep asking!

  2. Also thanks. I’ve been looking at SBG and contemplating standard creation, and it’s interesting to see how you structure them. I’m curious about this objective: “I can use empirically determined equations to determine the gravitational, spring, or friction force on an object.” Is this about determining these equations, or about using the equations? I’m curious about how it plays out in class, since it seems to be a very dense standard.

    1. That’s actually meant to be a pretty simple one. It’s basically whether they can use (while solving problems) the equations Fg=mg, Fs=–kd, Ff=mu*Fn that we had come up with during our experiments. Just knowing when and how to use them, getting units correct, etc. The “empirically determined” part refers to something that happened in class, not an expectation of the student in demonstrating mastery of the objective each time. Does that make sense? (I think it does to my students, but I might check in with them when they get back next week to see what they think.)

  3. That’s quite a list, but in the same ballpark as mine. Is projectile motion’s inclusion of all of those an issue? If they show that they don’t understand balanced forces or whatever later, that earlier standard’s still in play, right? The second time that I got to kinematics (I do 1D motion at the beginning and then come back to 2D after dynamics), I found that I only needed a couple of standards that weren’t already covered somewhere before! The only other thing that I do is to aggregate simple and related standards (like collapsing 5 basic kin. standards into “general kinematics” or some such) in subsequent terms (both to simplify things and also to reduce the weight of skills that are generally now just reflexive). Thanks!

    1. Projectile Motion is only a lot to keep track of on our end because we have to say yes or no to so many objectives. The kids don’t think so much about how many objectives are included before they get the objective sheet back with the test. I’ve thought a lot about collapsing old objectives, but I’m worried about losing some detail in Intro Physics. It would probably be okay in Honors Physics. It wouldn’t really reduce the “weight” of the topic in my grading scheme though because I don’t average anything. I guess it would make a small difference for the B objectives, but the A’s are the ones that would most likely collapse, and they need to show every one of those in order to pass.

      I’m just thinking about a kid who is still inconsistent on one of the earlier A objectives. If they get collapsed, it seems like it would be easier for me to let that kid slip under the radar because he might reassess on a related skill, but not the one they are actually having trouble demonstrating. But with collapsed objectives, I might end up counting that as a “yes”, and then I will have missed the chance to remediate the actual skill that they needed. I’ll have to keep thinking about it.

    1. They were impractical because you couldn’t isolate them to reassess (you can’t come in and reassess on knowing when to use CVPM, at least not in a time efficient manner). We decided that the 90-100 was better decided by the exam because it should be based on depth and sustained mastery.

      1. Hi Kelly. Can you tell us a bit more about how you weight the exam vs. standards? How is the exam same/different from assessments they have seen throughout the semester?

        1. I score the objectives as a yes/no only (0 – no mastery and 1 – developing mastery both mean “no” while 2 – mastery means “yes”). Only their most recent score counts, and at the end of the semester, the most recent score was likely on the exam. The exam doesn’t get a separate grade that is averaged in (“no points, no averages” is my motto this year). Instead, it is just a final chance to update me on their mastery. Of course, one data point isn’t the best way to make a measurement, so for any skill that they get wrong on the exam, I look at their past performance and make a judgement call to decide whether the new evidence is enough to outweigh what I saw from them in the past. I talk more about the format and grading of the exam in my first post, SBG and Semester Exams.

          1. Kelly, I have been wrestling with SBG for a year and a half now … keeping my head above water (some of the time). What I find is that I can’t get away from very small sized grains. I see you use a simple (?) 0/1/2 system so here’s my question. If I have an assessment – quiz, test, whatever, and it has 4 questions on it that require different aspects of understanding x vs. t graphs and a kid gets 3 of them right … where would you put them? I so often have kids that can correctly use a model “most of the time” but certain presentations elude them. Does that mean they only get a 1.

            For example 1.4 A CVPM I can interpret/draw the position vs. time graph for an object moving with constant velocity. out of 4 questions the kid does fine as long as the initial position is (+) or (0) but errs when the initial position is (-) … also shows that they understand that slope of x(t) = speed but can only calculate slope if (a) the graph is scaled 1:1 OR the vertical intercept is zero. … my solution has been to reduce grain size until I’m burried in sand.

            Tim

            1. Hey Tim,

              The simple answer to your first question is yes, they’d be at a “1” so far. When I’m putting down scores, I’m looking for any evidence at all that the student hasn’t 100% mastered a skill. If I see any evidence at all, then I want to make sure we (the student and I) are noting down which skill needs more work, even if it’s only a little more work. We’re playing the long game (being ready to crush the exam, which they generally are, by the end of the semester). Since their grade doesn’t exist until then, the score doesn’t mean anything in terms of a grade or a judgement at all. It just means that we’re not going to forget to go back to that one and hammer it some more.

              I think it’s also important to think about the wealth of other feedback that becomes more meaningful with SBG. When you give written notes on a test that is scored with points, the student doesn’t read it. They just look at the score and pull out a calculator, right? When you give written feedback on a test that’s scored with SBG, they don’t read it at first. They look at the scores. Then, eventually, they’re definitely going to be reading what you wrote on the skills that they now know they need to test again.

              So. Instead of making smaller grains of objectives, you can write the sort of feedback that you mentioned above (when they student is being successful and precisely where you think her problem is). That gives them a ton to go on, and lets them know that they aren’t totally lost. It could even prompt a great question/meeting with the kid when they start to understand what the thing you were writing means and they start to have a conflict of ideas to solve.

              I think you might be feeling the tug of partial credit when you’re thinking about making smaller objectives. Partial credit seems compassionate, right? But actually, even though the bar is raised with SBG, it’s much better than partial credit. You’re essentially saying, “Instead of giving you partial credit, I’m going to keep working with you until you’re getting it completely right every time.” That’s a way better deal, huh? 🙂

              What do you think?

              Kelly.

  4. I think the issue of “isolating” skills is very interesting and worth some more thought on my part. I think isolating skills in math and science feels different. Because if I want to come up with a new assessment for “I can generate the equation for a line when given slope and a point”, I can easily come up with new variations of the problem. It’s not impossible with science, but certainly different.

  5. As a teacher thinking of getting into SBG, will you be updating this with 4th quarter objectives? Would you be offending if these happen to become my objectives if I go down this road?

  6. Thanks for posting – this is great! One question: do you not assess procedural objectives? Data collection and analysis, drawing conclusions from trends, justifying work with reference to models, etc?

    1. I don’t assess those for a grade, but we certainly work on them in class when we do experiments. Justifying work by making explicit connection to models is something that I’ve been working on this year and plan to do even more of next year. They do this most obviously when they work on goal-less problems, where the first step is to say which models apply, when (which parts of the problem) they apply, and why. I’d like them to think about this more carefully next year, though, by putting in more problems for each unit where the current model either doesn’t apply, or is difficult to use for the situation. The best way to understand the toy is to try and break it, right?

      In general, though, I don’t think everything needs to be graded (feedback, yes! but graded, not necessarily). Some things are not important enough, and some are too important to reduce to an item they want to “check off” on a list.

  7. Granularity question – vs. assessment.
    Kelly, I see your objective for forces of
    2.3 A BFPM I can use empirically determined equations to determine the gravitational, spring, or friction force on an object.
    and wonder – since the 3 forces are not often wrapped together in one lab (or assessment question), how do you go about recording achievement? If a kid can succesfully answer Fg and Fs questions but not Ff … what then? If you do the Fg vs. mass lab and a kid shows great mastery of the Fg=10 N/kg * mass concept … do you go ahead and check the skill … or do you wait until all 3 have been addressed?
    I feel strongly that SBG is valid … but I’m drowning in grading and how to communicate grades during the quarter.
    Thanks for being so generous with your site and your time.
    Tim

    1. Hey Time,

      Okay, first, these are outdated objectives for me. Here’s my list for this year: https://kellyoshea.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/physics-objectives-2013/

      I’ve gotten rid of that old 2.3 objective (in favor of just wrapping things together as “I can solve problems using BFPM”, essentially—so making it less grainy), but I can talk about how I was using it before.

      I don’t think of questions as being Fg or Fs or Ff questions. I don’t want to break my questions down so that they isolate skills. I try to give questions that are good problems and that hit many skills at once, then break my feedback down on the questions instead.

      Anyway, I’d basically go to a 1 on that objective if a student obviously didn’t know how to use mass to find weight (or vice versa), what the deal was with spring constants and spring stretches, or how the friction and normal forces were related. Since it was an A objective, they didn’t have to get the problem correct to show mastery. Just show that they could use the empirical force laws in context correctly. Any instance of not being able to do any of those things correctly (remember, I’m looking for any evidence at all that they don’t have 100% mastery), and I’d give them a 1.

      A really key point here is that scores need to be able to go up and down as time goes on. I’m not going to exhaustively test each objective the first time I score it, and their understanding might shift a bit as they learn new things, too. I want their score to reflect my most current measurement of their understanding.

      I also think a key thing for why SBG has worked so well for me is that I actually don’t communicate grades during the quarter. Their grades just don’t exist. They have access to their scores and their history on each objective through ActiveGrade, but I’m not calculating a grade anywhere until I am forced to at the end of the term. That makes it much less scary to them for their scores on each objective to oscillate a bit (as they will tend to do while they are learning something new and difficult).

      I also try to get kids to think about it this way—a 2 doesn’t mean you’ve mastered it. Once you get three 2s in a row on the same objective, then you can start to think about having “gotten” that objective. Scores go up and down as you’re learning, and you might be able to do something in one context, but then not in another the next time I ask it slightly differently. You wouldn’t want to make just one measurement of something so important, so just realize that we’re in the middle, here.

      Okay, enough rambling from me. What do you think?

      Kelly.

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