Day 13: Mistakes and Arguments

I have decommissioned the arsenal. They valiantly fought the Dread Beast Cold for two solid days, and now they can rest (and be thoroughly washed).

Silly story. I’ve been fooling around with the app Wish that has tons of stuff for super cheap if you’re willing to wait a few weeks for shipping. I’ve been getting a lot of craft supplies and physics supplies and just stuff for fun. I saw an opportunity for a multimeter for $2 and figured I should jump on that and get ten. Even if the kids break them all and destroy all the fuses, I’m out $20. The multimeters I had previously were $20 EACH and blew out the 10A setting (with the fuse that couldn’t be replaced) with one careless click of the dial while plugged in, so I figured I’d try these out. I get a package and open it to find 10 sets of multimeter leads. I had completely misread the obviously deliberately misleading post. Turns out the cheap multimeters run around $10 on there. But, hey, now I have all the multimeter leads anyone could ever need and a lesson learned in reading carefully.


Physics: We began with a quiz over projectile motion and then went over vectors and components, which were super confusing for the students. I love how much these kids work so hard to make sense of what I am telling them with what they already know, and it’s a challenge for me to remember what it’s like not to understand and still rely on intuition and real life observations over the principles that I “know”. I do feel better about approaching it my own way. Everyone knows I’m neither my colleague nor my predecessor, and it’s nice to have the support to teach using my best judgement rather than being expected to do everything the traditional way.

Honors Physics: Friction! We basically worked through two problems. One that I did, one that they did, and then me doing that one and showing them the power of the general solution instead of solving the same problem three separate times with three different angles.

AP Physics: Today we analyzed the ideal situation and practiced the force analysis skills. The students keep finding the system method themselves, which is great, except I want them to practice analyzing systems the hard way first. I had a student today liken it to doing limits the hard way before doing derivatives, and yes. That is it. Just like l’Hopital’s Rule. I get their frustration of not being shown the shortcuts first, believe me, but I also understand why we need to do the long way first. The simplest systems are the ones where the system method works well, so I’m going to have to up the difficulty and do some practice problems where it doesn’t work.

I tried the mistake game today, and it started out not going well at all. There were some deeply rolled eyes when I told them the rules and a, “This doesn’t sound like much fun,” from one of the students. They did it anyway, starting out being very obviously sarcastic about it, but good conversation eventually did come out of it. I don’t think they even noticed when they went from being sarcastic to being earnest. I certainly didn’t interrupt to point it out. I won’t say it was perfect, but I do think it’s something that I would try again after talking about it more with some colleagues.

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