Day 72: Conducting Convection

Tuesday, Jan 16

Physics: Conduction and convection! I love heat transfer. It’s so neat. One of the quiz questions was about snow being a good insulator, and to answer the question I started going back through the last chapter to review what temperature was, what heat was, and the pieces of knowledge that you have to combine in order to understand still air being an insulator. This confused the heck out of one student who couldn’t put together why I was talking about all these things from last chapter when the question was about this chapter. I told her we were in a mystery story, and I had to lay out all the clues before they could solve it. She gave me some serious side-eye, but she let me finish, and it turns out it all made sense in the end! Wow! It’s almost like information in different chapters is connected!

Honors Physics: I began class with time for students to give feedback on the format of the term so far, their learning, and basically every aspect of the class. I’m happy to make any changes. I care that they learn. I don’t care what, in general, we do to make that learning happen. There are so, so, so many options out there, and I can make anything focus on physics. I just hope they don’t say, “Please go back to lectures and recipe labs,” because that would probably be the one offer I would decline no matter how much I love lecturing. When they finished that, we discussed the cosmology summative assessment for how the basic light behaviors (reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference) are utilized to help us learn more about the universe. Once I go over the feedback, which we’ll discuss tomorrow, we’ll make some choices about where to go next. I’m enjoying this. I hope the students are.

Feedback results: Most of the students love the more relaxed, self-paced and jig-saw method of learning. Some are super bored by their classmates and worried that they aren’t teaching the right things. A minority of them desperately want me to lecture to them and just tell them what they need to know. I’ll let it simmer for tonight and see what I’m thinking tomorrow, but right now I’m thinking I could do a bit of a layered curriculum where some students could work independently on research on topics of their choice in one part of the room and other students can listen to a lecture. I know I can’t make everyone happy all of the time, but it would sure be neat to see how it works.

AP Physics: We’re so close to being done with electrostatics. We just need to strengthen the understanding of potential and how it’s related to energy, begin building a basic understanding of capacitors, and then put it all together with a billion practice problems.

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