Today was a normal schedule, so we had 53 minute classes. I started both classes (Advanced and General) by explaining why we levitated the malted milk balls.
SIDEBAR: I have a sound educational reason (or reasons) for everything we do in class. I explain my students that I will do my very best to never waste their time… what we are doing always has a reason that might not be clear right away, but will become clear at some point.
Back to levitating malted milk balls: Most of the students saw this simple activity as a way to demonstrate some pretty cool physics, namely the Bernoulli effect. But, behind the scenes there was a second reason. It provided an opportunity to talk about Carol Dweck’s work on mindset. I found this graphic:
from this website:
The example I used for a fixed mindset related tot eh activity was thinking, “I can’t do that” or “There’s no way I could ever do that so I’m not going to try” For a growth mindset, it was, “Well, I’m not sure how to do that, but I’m going to try this…” or noticing another student trying something, “Oh, I can do that…”. I think the connection to studying physics was pretty clear.
We also spent a few minutes talking a bit more in detail about the course using our syllabus.
We spent the last half of the class period doing the Marshmallow Challenge. This is a nice first day activity that I learned about from reading Frank Noschese blog, here.