Day 142: Assessment, Reflection Lab, & Backwards Problem

AP Physics 1: Assessment

Students took their quiz over angular momentum, and we have now officially finished content. Wooo! 2 class days to spare!

Physics: Reflection Lab

We got out the geo mirrors and some plane mirrors to start exploring reflection. I like to start each optics topic with a lab making qualitative observations. The instructions I gave students today need some work; students had trouble parsing the wording to make meaningful observations.

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Chemistry Essentials: Backwards Problem

As a quick warm-up before taking the limiting reactants quiz, I had students whiteboard what I called a backwards problem. I gave them a reaction and told them what should be the limiting reactant, then had them sketch a particle diagram for a situation showing starting conditions that would lead to the right limiting reactant.

A few kids were feeling stressed out about this quiz, so we also took a few minutes to revisit the reassessment policy, including the fact that I’m putting retakes into our normal assessment process, which helped lower the stakes and let students feel a little calmer about the quiz.

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Day 135: Pivot Angular Acceleration, FCI, & Limiting Reactants

AP Physics 1: Pivot Angular Acceleration

I am as part of Pivot Interactive’s Chemistry Fellows program.

Students used Pivot Interactives to find a relationship between unbalanced torque and angular momentum for several different bicycle wheels. I had them start by setting up a formula they could use to calculate the angular acceleration from the change in angular position and the time. My 2nd hour had a much easier time with this; I think the difference is they worked yesterday’s problems in small groups and quickly connected this task to some of the problems they’d done. My 4th hour had a sub yesterday who was a former physics teacher that decided to go through the problems as a lecture, so I think those students didn’t have as firm a grasp on the calculations.

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Physics: FCI

Students took the Force Concept Inventory as a post-test. We normally give it before moving into simple harmonic motion, so they were a little rusty on thinking with forces, but I’m satisfied with the results.

Chemistry Essentials: Limiting Reactants

Students used nuts, bolts, and washers to start connecting mass to what I’d planned for them to see about limiting reactants yesterday. While both my sections were able to get through today’s activity without trouble, I need to figure out how to adjust for some issues yesterday. My 5th hour is co-taught, so my co-teacher ran the class and the majority of students easily finished yesterday’s activity and had the ideas I wanted them to have at this point. In my 6th hour, the sub decided to go over the answers to the accompanying worksheet as a lecture without projecting the simulation, which my students really struggled to follow. Several students helped themselves to a computer and worked through the activity as intended, and I’m having trouble getting mad at them for defying the sub. I think the activity with the simulation is worth doing, but between demand for the school computers and trying to keep both sections in the same place, I’m not sure how to give my 6th hour time in-class.

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Day 109: Free Response & Mistakes Whiteboarding

Today was our last day of regular classes before final exams.

AP Physics 1: Free Response

For my tri 2 final, I like to give most of a practice AP exam. Since our final periods are 90 minutes long, I had my students do the free response portion today. I took out the problems on circuits and rotation since my students haven’t seen those topics yet. Students seemed to feel pretty good afterward; I think they are internalizing that its okay not to nail the problems.

Physics: Mistakes Whiteboarding

We used some problems from the final review for mistakes whiteboarding. Students in this course have really bought in to the value of mistakes whiteboarding and I end up saying very little during these discussions. Its a lot of fun to listen to students during these discussions.

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Chemistry Essentials: Mistakes Whiteboarding

We used some problems from the final review for mistakes whiteboarding. A lot of students were having some trouble focusing, which is not unusual for this course at the end of a tri; I think a lot of them are anticipating spring break and the start of the next trimester. My co-teacher and I made some changes to how we talked about particle diagrams this tri to emphasize them as a thinking tool, and it was a lot of fun to see some of that work pay off during the discussion today.

Day 106: Assessment Bonanza

Tomorrow was originally scheduled to be a staff development day, so all three of my classes took assessments wrapping up their last topic.

AP Physics 1: Waves Assessment

This quiz included an experimental design problem off a past AP exam. My students still find those kinds of problems really intimidating, but I’m really pleased with the work on the quizzes I’ve looked at so far. In general, both this year and in the past, I’ve had a lot of trouble helping my students feel as confident as I think they should when it comes to the AP Physics 1 exam, and I think their reaction to experimental design problems is one symptom. I have noticed that one of my sections is much more confident, and I don’t think its coincidence that they are also a MUCH smaller section. As we get into the home stretch to May 7, I need to give some thought to how I can help all of my students recognize the progress I’ve seen in them.

Physics: Pendulum Assessment

Students took their quiz on pendulums, then started working on a final review.

Chemistry Essentials: Formula Writing Assessment

Students quizzed over formula writing. Most were feeling very good about their work at the end of the quiz, which is a great place to be at the end of the term.

Day 99: Quiz, Projectile Practical, & Quiz

Classes were a little shorter than usual today due to our winter week pep fest.

AP Physics 1: Quiz

Students took their oscillating particle model quiz on springs. The ones I’m grading so far look great, which is nice to see.

Physics: Projectile Practical

Students worked through a practical to predict where a horizontally launched projectile will hit the floor. Once students got a success, I had them predict which way they should move their target for a relatively light marble.

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Chemistry Essentials: Quiz

Students took their quiz on the Bohr model of the atom. Students are starting to feel pretty comfortable reading their periodic tables and anticipating key properties, which bodes well as we move into formula writing.

Day 97: Assessment, Problems, & Penny Isotopes

AP Physics 1: Assessment

Students took their pendulum assessment, initially scheduled for last Friday. They’ve been very quick to grade since students did really well.

Physics: Problems

Students worked projectile motion problems. A lot of students needed some coaching to remember how to solve problems from a velocity vs. time graph, which tells me we could stand to do a little more spiraling content in the course, but students were pretty successful overall. There was a great moment where a few students were feeling much more confident than usual who objected when someone at their table tried to get help from me before talking about their question with the rest of the table.

Chemistry Essentials: Penny Isotopes

Students used pennies to represent different isotopes of an atom, comparing the average mass of their whole set to the average mass of each type of penny. Because I distributed the pennies pretty randomly, all of the groups ended up with more post-1982 pennies, but I think it would have driven the point home a little stronger if some groups had more pre-1982 pennies.

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Day 89: Assessments & Mistakes Whiteboarding

AP Physics 1: Projectile Assessment

Students took their projectile motion quiz. A lot of students told me it was easier than they expected. I tend to find my students are less confident on the material than I think they should be, and I haven’t figured out yet how to help students build up that confidence.

Physics: Energy Assessment

Students took their conservation of energy quiz. We’ve been including a reflection at the end of the packets students turn in on quiz days; since my PLC decided to try using group roles for some of the activities in this packet, we focused the reflection on how the group roles went and I’m looking forward to reading what students wrote.

Chemistry Essentials: Mistakes Whiteboarding

We did some mistakes whiteboarding to go over the bar chart problems students worked on yesterday. My students this trimester have a much clearer understanding of the energy flow section of the diagrams than when I’ve used bar charts in other classes, which has been great to see. Now I need to try and figure out what’s helped them make sense of that so I can repeat it next time I teach the course!

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