Day 8: Weight v Mass and More Motion

Physics: I made decisions about how to work the class, but when I presented them the students were asking questions I hadn’t considered fully. I spent the weekend trying to figure out how to organize things. What I’ve got so far is exams are worth 100 points each and “Engagement” is worth 5 pts/day. With four more tests and 9 more weeks for engagement, plus 14 more quizzes, plus 6 labs. I’m thinking just 25% each? I’ll run it by the kids and see how they feel about it. After going over my decisions and having that conversation, we started talking about the beginnings of motion. Hewitt begins with a focus on what velocity and acceleration are, but methods of representation don’t happen until later, so it was hard to have a conversation about the ideas without the students having covered basic graphs and motion maps. I think in the future I will focus on representing motion, since it’s through working with representations and understanding them that the concepts become more clear.

Honors Physics: Today was talking about mass vs weight and free-fall. The students were not fans, because it required understanding a whole bunch of things we hadn’t really gotten to yet in order to talk about gravity effectively. I did some dropping stuff demos to show that a sheet of paper and a book fall with the same acceleration, but I don’t think it was enough. I should have talked about free-fall more and done some free-fall experiments and had them play with some things dropping and taking measurements, but I wasn’t sure there would be time. I think a solution for next year would be to have this lesson after the free-fall lab and just move up the stuff about Newton’s Laws, because knowing that will also be helpful in understanding mass vs weight and the constant acceleration of gravity. That seems like a more logical sequence, even if it is further out of sequence in the textbook.

AP Physics: Continuing the UAPM model. We practiced interpreting graphs and motion maps, transitioning between representations, and applying the model using these practice questions. A lot of it was them talking about the questions in groups while I listened, which is not as much fun for me, but is way better for the students. I was able to do far less lecturing today, just respond to their questions or discussion points. I had graded both class’s lab quizzes, and the scores were generally good. Mostly 100% with a few mistakes and some poorly communicated work, but most of them are really getting the ideas of CVPM and UAPM.

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