I don’t do lab reports. Maybe that’s a strange way to begin, here, but stick with me. I haven’t found lab reports to be useful assessment tools in the past. Instead, I have claimed that our work in the lab is too important to grade. It’s the basis of all of our knowledge. On the one… Read More Assessing Scientific Abilities
AKA Inventing a New Flavor of Energy Storage When we start the energy unit, we usually pick up 4 flavors (kinetic, gravitational, spring, and thermal) and note that we will recognize and name other ways of storing energy when we see them. That happens pretty immediately when we do pie charts. We run into a problem pretty… Read More Tic Tac Bounce
In my college summers, I was a camp counselor at a Girl Scout camp in Michigan. (Bear with me, this is going somewhere.) During my first summer, I loathed having to spend one night per week sleeping outside and tried to find any way out of it. During the staff training week the second summer,… Read More This Class is SO My Class
So first, some background. I taught at a new-to-me school this year, and it currently has a lot of one-trimester-long classes, including for the 9th and 10th grade sciences (they rotate through biology, chemistry, and physics, though not in a particular order). These little “tastes” of physics make it more challenging to develop a class… Read More Standards-Based Grading: 5, 6, 8, 10
This fall, I will be starting my 2nd year at a really cool progressive day school in NYC. The science curriculum is in the process of evolving, but the current program has 9th and 10th graders rotating twice through physics, chemistry, and biology (in any order) on a trimester system. This past year, I taught… Read More Circuits and Charges: A Physics Active Exam
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… Read More July 2015 Workshops and Graphical Solutions for Physics
My Physics 10 (a trimester-long class exploring E&M topics for 10th graders who haven’t yet studied mechanics) was wrapping up some extensions to an electrophorus activity. They were already pros at explaining and predicting electrostatic phenomena, but this activity gave them yet another way to test out their thinking, practice their charge diagrams, and add depth and subtlety… Read More What if we didn’t finish all of the questions?