Day 21: It’s All about Transitions

As I think about how I spend my time on my lesson plans for each day, I’ve come to the conclusion that I invest a fair amount of that time working on transitions.  I want my classes to be a seamless flow one class and topic to the next and creating/planning transitions is how I think I get there.  Case in point: (well two cases).

Advanced Physics:

Yesterday we worked on a video analysis tutorial with Logger Pro.  We simply created a position-time graph from a video of one of the toy dune buggies.  The next concept I wanted to cover was velocity-time graphs and drawing them from a position-time graph.  I used video analysis to make this transition. in a simplified sense, I explained that in the process of gathering the data from the video, Logger Pro also provided velocity information. I asked the students to predict the shape of the velocity graph from the position graph displayed in the video analysis file.  This approach may have been obvious to you, but last year when I used it, it felt like a major revelation, and this yea it was even better.  I shared it with my colleagues at the Phox share group last year.  Here is the write up: FV Nov 2013–VA to Transition x-t to v-t

General Physics:

Another transition to tell about.  We have been working with Snell’s Law.  Today I wondered out loud what would happen when light rays hit a curved refraction surface???  Well to get there, we need to start with the ‘flat’ refraction surfaces we already knew about.  This was a bridging activity that used triangular and square pieces of glass and lasers to build the concept a converging lens and a diverging lens.  This is not my original idea, (bridging analogies) but let me tell you it rocks.  Student predict first then verify with the actual equipment.   The definitions of converging and diverging lenses fall right out of the activity… the concept comes first (a piece of glass in air that causes parallel rays to come together or converge) then the name (a converging lens). Here is a picture of this:

Bridging to Lenses

See what I mean, all about the transition.

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