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… Read More July 2015 Workshops and Graphical Solutions for Physics

What if we didn’t finish all of the questions?

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?

Drawing accelerated position-time graphs

During our PLC chat this week, we talked at one point about how long it takes for students to become completely consistent in drawing motion graphs. My experience has been that students become confident relatively quickly in drawing the velocity-vs-time graphs (having switched their brain into thinking through v-t graphs), but still sometimes struggle to draw… Read More Drawing accelerated position-time graphs

SBG with Seniors

Here’s the problem with Standards-Based Grading (SBG) and seniors: their first quarter grades matter. In my usual approach to grading, the quarter grades are just snapshots. Since they weren’t (at my old school) and aren’t (at my current school) put on transcripts, I have felt free to use them as moments for students to check… Read More SBG with Seniors