Day 3

Physical Science: Yesterday I posted about the Close Reading assignment we had titled “The Making of a Scientist” by Richard Feynman. Today we discussed students responses to the Section 1 material, and then assigned Section 2 for tomorrow.

Students shared their writing in small groups, and then were asked to select the person who had best answered the question. When I spoke to each group, they were expected to be able to tell me why they had selected Billy or Susie’s responses. Then we shared with the class, and had some great discussions.

Freshmen discussing Feynman's "Making of a Scientist."

Freshmen discussing Feynman’s “Making of a Scientist.”

Chemistry: Today I introduced the need for particle diagrams in Chemistry. After talking about how Chemistry is really all about matter, and how it is more interesting to look at the matter at a scale we can’t actually see it at, we talked about needing a visual model.

The demo we used was the exploding paint can. Students had to white board what was going on after the can is just lit, just before it goes boom, and just after. The idea is to introduce the process of making particle diagrams, not to get it right.

Here are some examples. They are just the diagrams, we did a “Whiteboarding in the Round” session to share what it meant.

CIMG1467 CIMG1468 CIMG1469 CIMG1470 CIMG1471

Physics of Light: Today we started out by sitting totally in the dark. I sealed off all light sources in my room using heavy duty, black contractor plastic. Then while we sat in the dark, I asked them to think about the question, “What is Light?” Specifically, how could you explain light to someone who couldn’t see. As they sat in total darkness, unable to see, it gave them great time to reflect.

Really this is all stolen from a Tweet by Josh Gates (@DeltaGPhys) back in April 2012. Here is a link to the activities that we did in order to start talking about light.

I also started sharing with the students in class a document I call “The Story So Far..” inspired by Jeff Elmer, a great modeling physics teacher from Oshkosh. In a grad class I had with Elmer, he used to start each day by going over the “story so far…” as a means of A) reviewing material, and B) creating a storyline of where we started, what we had done, and what we knew.

I decided to do this bit of note taking for students so that they can focus on what we are doing rather making sure they wrote it all down. If you want to follow along, click here.

AP Chem: Final review on unit 1, quiz tomorrow. Students had good questions about physical/chemical properties, as well as intensive/extensive properties. It has been fun seeing that they didn’t forget stuff over the summer. A good group of kids for sure.

Bonus Material: Shared by Gary Baier at Green Bay PrebleHigh School: “Why do we still have imperial measurements?”


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