Day 19

Today we had a half day, with teacher training in the afternoon. I am now a certified ACT Aspire proctor.

Physical Science: We reviewed the assignment from yesterday on unit conversions and measurements. As I walked around and spot checked homework, I took my time and looked over assignments closely. A number of students did just fine setting up ratios, and doing the conversions. Still others were getting answers, wrong or right, but without sound reasoning behind it. That is something that I have noticed over the years; freshmen have not been asked to focus on the process.

So I kept putting the focus on how they got to the answer, rather than spend much time on what the answer was.

For Monday they get basically the same practice, but this time I added some conversions that asked them to change units to things that mixed our standard measures to non-standard. For example: If the door is 212 cm tall, and 1 pencil = 10 cm, how tall is the door in pencils. They had been given questions asking them about this process earlier in this section of our Science skills unit. I think this will give a serious look at how well they are getting the use of ratios.

Chemistry: They took their density and measurements quiz. Nothing else to report.

Physics of Light: We discussed the light intensity homework. It went okay until we had to answer the following question: If Venus is 0.7 times as far from the sun as Earth, then how does the intensity of light compare between the two planets. Students did fine when they were scaling outward, but this was more challenging. I admit, it took me three tries until I got the answer. I finally had to draw a diagram of the setup and reason out an answer first, then do the math.

Bonus: If you didn’t see my tweet this morning, I’ve been asked to teach a lesson to my daughter’s 3rd grade class in the next few weeks. They are going to be starting a unit on Forces and Motion. I’ll be looking over the unit materials of her teacher to see what they are covering and to what depth, then find something to support the focus.

However, I can’t help but think how I would teach the unit if it was all mine. Taking the things that we teach to 16-19 year olds, and redo it for 8 year olds is interesting to me. What is the most important? What should the goal of instruction really be?

In my mind, the lesson starts to take shape something like this?

“Do you know what this is?”

SONY DSC

“That’s right it’s an apple. Now let me tell you how a simple apple and a guy named Issac changed the way we think about how and why stuff moves.”

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