Day 25: Car Crashes and Practice Problems

Physics: Quiz 9 on Ch 8, which is momentum. After the quiz I had students fill out a quick questionnaire to reflect on their experience in my class the first half of the first term so I have some references to use while writing comments. I then showed them the first half of the video “Understanding Car Crashes” which apparently now has updated footage as the banners told me multiple times. I’m getting better at not crying when I talk about teenagers dying in car-wrecks, but it’s still a very hard topic for me.

When I was in college, my best friend’s little sister was killed because of kids making poor choices on back roads. From what I understand about the situation, they were drag racing, she was sitting on the center console with no seat-belt, and a car turned into the road when they were going too fast to stop. She went through the windshield and ultimately died. Her name was Marissa, and I’d known her since she was 5. I taught her how to do long division. I defended her in big-brother-little-sister bickering. I spent so much time at their house I called his parents Mom and Dad. I got the call on a weekend in November my fourth year of college when I was having a bunch of friends over to celebrate my birthday. I took the call, heard what happened, and went numb. I went through the motions of hanging out with my friends the rest of the night, but it hit me super hard. I missed classes for a few days trying to recover. It was a rough time.

That feeling comes back every year in November and usually in the spring when I would go over this content at my previous school. This year they’re happening much closer together, which is a little more challenging to process, but I never want to get that call again about any teenager that I know, so I make sure to drive it home over and over again how much their safety means to me and what they need to know to make good decisions.

Honors Physics: I made a packet of six goal-less problems that require using the models we have discussed so far. I made them intentionally pretty challenging because it’s the practice and they get to work together. I’ve got the exam put together. It’s hard writing questions that use both forces and momentum that don’t also require energy or two paragraphs to explain exactly how things are moving and when they are colliding. I’m getting better at authoring goal-less problems, though. I wish the AP would move to using that format for one of the FR.

I also gave them the reflection sheet to get some info. We’ll see how well they help me write the comments, but it was something I was planning on doing for all classes and just hadn’t implemented. So may re-sets are going to happen starting next Unit.

AP Physics: Also practice problems. Today was two FR problems that I had them work on for 30 minutes (same number and time for problems on the exam on Thursday) to see how far they could get. Some of them got pretty far, but some of them really choked, and I wanted them to have a chance to get through those emotions today. Tomorrow I’ll have another timed selection of MC with one FR for them to work on to give them another chance at what the exam will feel like time-wise.

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