Day 138 & 139: Two Weeks Before Graduation

Thursday, May 10, and Friday, May 11

Physics: There was no new material to cover Thursday because of the way the syllabus is set up, so I did a version of the Honors assignment where I divided them up into four groups and had each one research something about the Manhattan Project. I didn’t ask them to make a presentation, but to write a paragraph and send it to me. I’ll combine them and send it back out. I have to be very precise that they are all responsible for the answers to all four questions AND yes, it will be on the exam next week.

Friday we watched some videos about quantum physics and blew all their little minds. The one student who is willing to call me on crap and demand I make sense of things did not like it when I had to tell him it doesn’t make sense to ANYONE. No one. It doesn’t make sense. I’m terribly sorry about that. You just gotta sit with it a while and let the nonsense percolate into vague understanding mostly filled with ????!? and furrowed brows.

Honors Physics: Standing waves! We got started a little bit talking about the difference between traveling waves and standing waves. We watched this video of standing waves in water and what happens as they dissipate. I played the whirly gig for them. Clearly I need to practice on that instrument. I also found my panpipe I made at the Explo summer institute a few years ago and played some Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. One student seriously did the nae-nae while I Twinkled.

Friday I gave them the same slinkies from Tuesday and had them fool around with measuring the relationship between wave speed and whatever they wanted to vary. Some varied length, some tension, some mass/length. All had trouble getting good measurements, which I kinda like. Struggling is pretty good. One student came today to ask me why they kept getting the same time even though they had stretched the string more and it was going a longer distance. I had to talk him through it a couple times, and I’m not sure he’s 100% figured it out, but it’s a good thinking exercise.

AP Physics: E&M FRQs and looking over multiple choice. I got those graded and recorded, so I don’t have to worry about them changing answers. For free response on Friday, they’ll have to use different colored pens. The student who has checked out completely tried to sleep instead of review, so I placed him in a seat with a group that was actively reviewing. Amazingly he started actually going through the questions and talking about things. It was brief and intermittent, but still better than him doing nothing.

Friday was a full review day where students got their FRQs back and we went through the provided solutions so they could see where they missed points and what they got right. It was a little worrying how often they were astounded at getting things correct. I have lots of things to re-think for next year.


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