July 2015 Workshops and Graphical Solutions for Physics

I am leading two workshops this summer. Both workshops are on teaching graphical solutions in physics.

Why are graphical solutions so great in physics classes?

Graphical solutions put sense-making at the center of problem solving. They work for all levels of students. They make more challenging problems accessible to students with less math confidence/experience and they scale to calculus, allowing more advanced students to make deeper connections and write more elegant responses to questions.

I won’t spend time rehashing what I’ve written about before. The post that I wrote advertising the unofficial workshop that Casey and I led last year has a lot of info, summary, and links.

GraphicalSolutions

One Week Workshop in NYC

held at Teachers College, Columbia University / July 13th to July 17th

STEMteachersNYC logo

First up, a weeklong workshop for STEMteachersNYC that I am co-leading with Mike Pustie. This workshop is also being billed as an “introduction to Modeling Instruction” workshop. With the luxury of time for the workshop, we’ll get to do activities that support the skills students need to be successful with graphical solutions (for example: activities that get them internalizing and thinking in velocity-time graphs). We’ll also get to explore graphical solutions in momentum and energy, and we’ll get a lot of practice with each skill—so participants can leave feeling really confident about using and implementing the ideas (I hope!).

Here is the official description for the workshop:

Graphical methods for solving problems are elegant, connect to calculus, and support students who typically struggle with strict formulaic problem solving. In this workshop, we will see how to use diagrams (including vector addition, bar charts, and slopes and areas on various graphs) as problem solving tools in kinematics (1-D and 2-D), dynamics, momentum conservation (1-D and 2-D), and energy conservation. These approaches emphasize conceptual understanding and allow students to use diagrams as sensemaking tools while solving challenging quantitative problems. Students often enjoy thinking geometrically—and you’ve never seen as true a joy as when a student realizes she can use the Law of Sines outside of math class. Participants will see how these ideas can be introduced to students, will practice using the tools to solve problems, and will also practice student-centered discussion techniques through several modes of “whiteboarding” (https://kellyoshea.wordpress.com/whiteboarding/).

To register for this workshop (and to learn more about the other NYC summer workshops offered by this group), visit the STEMteachersNYC page.

One Day Workshop at the AAPT National Meeting

held in College Park, MD / Saturday July 25, 2015

AAPT logo

I am also excited to be leading an official, day-long workshop at the AAPT meeting in MD this summer. This workshop will focus on forces and kinematics (just not enough time for momentum, energy, etc all in one day) and on whiteboarding skills and modes.

Here is the official description for the workshop:

W11: Teaching Graphical Solutions for Forces and Kinematics

Graphical methods for solving problems are elegant, connect to calculus, and support students who typically struggle with strict formulaic problem solving. In this workshop, we will practice methods for solving kinematics and dynamics problems graphically using velocity-vs-time graphs and force vector addition diagrams. These approaches emphasize conceptual understanding and allow students to use diagrams as sense-making tools while solving challenging quantitative problems. Students often enjoy thinking geometrically—and you’ve never seen as true a joy as when a student realizes she can use the Law of Sines outside of math class. We will also learn and practice student-centered discussion techniques through several modes of “whiteboarding” (https://kellyoshea.wordpress.com/whiteboarding/). Using table-sized whiteboards to facilitate small group work and large group discussions supports students as they voice and debate their ideas with their peers. We will try a variety of techniques that focus on normalizing mistakes in the classroom, thinking through other students’ work, and giving multiple opportunities for quieter students to engage their peers during class.

To register for the meeting, this workshop, etc, use the AAPT Summer Meeting 2015 website.

If you know anyone who might be interested in either of these workshops, please pass along this information. Thanks! 🙂

I hope to see you this summer!

(P.S. Come to Physics Teacher Camp!)

3 thoughts on “July 2015 Workshops and Graphical Solutions for Physics

    1. For kinematics problems, the main tool is the velocity-time graph. You can annotate what you know and what you don’t know. Then you can write equations for the slope and the area. Any CAPM problem can be solved that way. Some students prefer to use both v-t and a-t graphs and only write equations for area—obviously an equivalent way of doing things. 🙂 Hope that helps!

      1. Hello Kelly. I apologize for contacting you this way but I can’t find your email anywhere in your blog. I decided to teach physics next year using modeling approach. I came across your blog and your materials. Is there a way you can send me the word doc of the packets for the honors and regular physics? Thanks so much!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s