Day 4: First Laws and Acceleration

Physics: Today was Ch 3 in Hewitt, which is the Newton’s First Law chapter. It starts out going through the history of Aristotle’s thoughts on motion, Copernicus, then Galileo. The other physics teacher goes into depth about the history, which I agree is awesome, but not awesome enough for me to take class time to talk about it vs class time for them to do stuff. I decided to do First Law stations and set up nine around the room. After a minute and a half we had a broom+beaker mishap, so after that there were only eight stations.

  1. Run while holding a tennis ball and try to drop it in a hoop.
  2. Balance an embroidery hoop on a flask and a coin on the embroidery hoop. Snatch the hoop and see what the coin does (my casual demonstration of this always gets a big student reaction. I love it. I used to do this with markers, but the balancing was taking way more time than the coolness was worth, so this time I gave them coins).
  3. Hold a 10lb weight and shake it up and down and side to side.
  4. The beaker + pie tin + “physics tube” (paper towel or tp roll) + baseball where you whack the pie tin with the broom to knock it out from under the baseball, and the baseball falls straight down into the beaker. I got a glass beaker, tried it a few times, and was satisfied with the set-up. One of the first students to do it set it up just right so that the broom hit the spout of the beaker and shattered it. Oops. I got that cleaned up and still need to apologize to the chem teachers.
  5. Mr. Squeezey and the Cart. I have a squeezy toy that stands up well on the dynamic carts we have, so he was to be stood up on the end, pushed toward a barrier, and observed what he did once the cart stopped suddenly.
  6. “Physics paper” (a brand new roll of tp) on a holder. Pull fast, pull slow, rip off a square, etc etc.
  7. Hold 200g and hit it with a hammer. Hold 15lbs and hit it with a hammer. Compare how it feels.
  8. Cup + card + coin. Flick card out from under coin.
  9. Tablecloth trick with pie tins and a variety of different masses to compare.

I didn’t get pictures today, because that is not a natural part of my teaching yet, but I’ll get some set-up pics soon and add them to this post. After they did the stations, we talked about how moving objects behaved, how still objects behaved, and how heavy vs light objects behaved. Final conclusion: “Objects resist changes in motion. The heavier they are, the more they resist.” It’s pretty simplified, but works for conceptual.

Honors Physics: I went over the new syllabus, homework assignments, and expectations that I worked on over the weekend, and they were receptive to the changes as well as giving feedback to me over the next few weeks. For content, we moved from CVPM and started CAPM. I didn’t get packets copied, so they were working from the board, and it was not great. One of them even asked if she could get hard copies, reinforcing what I already feared was not the best situation. I’m so glad she was willing to ask. Tomorrow is our acceleration lab, so I’ll be sure to have handouts for them. The day after that is forces and vectors. I’m still used to my previous school where everyone had iPads and Notability, so everything was done digitally. Making adjustments is hard, but I’ll get it sorted.

AP Physics: We continued working on CVPM with motion maps, translating between representations, and practicing applying models. Tomorrow is forces and vectors so we can do balanced/unbalanced before diving into CAPM. It just worked out this way because of the lab schedule, but it will give me a chance to compare honors vs AP and see the effects of doing forces/vectors before CAPM affect and vice versa.

Only having 40 minutes per class is so, so short. The nice part is that time just flies by. The frustrating part is that time just flies by. If I get distracted AT ALL, I won’t get through the material for that day. It keeps me honest, but it’s a little bit stressful. Good thing I love my job.

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