Days 17 and 18: About last night… or Two for the Price of One

So I did not get the post written for last night, but I have a great reason. Notice I did not say excuse.  Last night was our first Share session of the year.  We have a local share group we call the Phox Valley Physics and Physical Science Share Group.  The Phox might need some explanation.  The ‘ph’ pronounced with the ‘f’ sound is because of the physics and physical science connection and the so the name sounds like Fox, we are located in what is known as the Fox Valley region of Wisconsin.  You can follow us on Twitter @PhoxShare.

This is an ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE group of devoted educators.  Many of the members are on Twitter and you should follow them… (@BrillionNerd, @MrTSchwall, @jcon16 to name a few, there are more…) For the last 14 years we have been meeting five times each year (September, November, January, March and May). Without question, this is the best professional development I get each year. I mean, what could be better than sitting down with a bunch of other physics and physical science teachers for a couple of hours to share ideas and pedagogy.  I am a very lucky teacher to be part of this amazing group.

I could go on and on and on and on…  but I won’t.  My suggestion, find a group near you or start your own.

Day 16

Advanced Physics

This was the first problem WB session of the year.  It was a worksheet that just started putting some of the cvpm representations together; position graphs, motion maps…  So not much to report.  I do tell my students that the focus and responsibility falls on them to ask the questions during the presentation of the solution.  I tell them if I see an error, I may or may not say anything about it.  The balk a bit, but I explain that if I was just going to confirm each and every board, there is not much point is explaining them… I feel guilty about this… but just for a minute or two.  You see, I check to see how much each student completed the night before.  I have a small conversation with each group as the prep the board.  It gives me time to talk one to one with most students.  Sure it takes some time, but I find many will ask a question there rather than to the whole group, especially at first.  It also lets me remind them to ask for help.  Early on, this might be a typical exchange:

S:  I did not get it done.

Me:  Ok, was it a I did not have time” or I did not understand?  I can’t help you  with the no time but I can help with the I don’t get. Send me an email or even a message via Schoology…

Usually gets the point across.


General Physics:

We gathered data for the traditional Snell’s law experiment.  Here is our set-up:

Snells law

Day 17:

Advanced Physics:

We started the hour off with a bit of practice.  I provided a motion map and asked the students to provide a written description of the motion (linguistic representation) and a position graph.  I used the “Think, Pair, Share” approach.  It was awesome to see the level of dialogue, none from me.  We also started a Motion Detector activity.  I’m sure most of you do something like it.  A set of directions about how to walk in front of the motion detector, then sketch the graph…  Working to build that kinesthetic experience.  Amazing some kids can explain it all, yet, struggle to walk it.

General Physics:

Today was the post-lab discussion for the Snell’s Law experiment.  This is a tough one because the linear graph is not one of the usual ones we get.  It takes some discussion to get the kids to see we should try plotting Sine Angle of Refraction vs. Sine Angle of Incidence.  In the second class, I actually followed he note I left myself last year…. plot incidence on the Y-axis so the slope is the index of refraction… MUCH easier for the general kids.



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