Day 5: Lab Group Contracts & Branches of Earth Science

AP Physics: Lab Group Contracts & Mistakes Game

We started by talking about some of the skills that highly effective lab groups tend to demonstrate. From there, I asked each lab group to write a short contract for themselves they could use to help develop those skills and hold each other accountable. Most of the contracts are fairly broad or vague, I think because I was vague about what I wanted, but groups had some good conversations about their strengths and weaknesses. My favorite item is the group that agreed to “criticize everything.”

After that, students got their first taste of the Mistakes Game. I started by using a recent cooking disaster to discuss the value of examining mistakes, rather than ideal solutions, then introduced the mistakes game. Students readily embraced this approach; I spoke less and heard better questions than much later in the year last year.

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Earth Science: Branches of Earth Science

Students attempted to answer the question “what is earth science?” I asked each group to make a visual representation of their answer, including something to indicate the four main branches of the field. Students worried about their artistic abilities at first, but ended up getting into it. I had them use whiteboards, and it was great to see groups really talk to each other instead of each disappearing into their own papers.

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