Day 33

It was PT Conferences last night, and I set a new record with 26 conferences in 3.5 hours. That might not be a record any where else, but in rural Shiocton, that was a pretty big night. PT Conference can be pretty stressful, but it is great to get to meet parents, talk about kids, and start a dialogue.

Bonus Open: I posted this to Twitter last night, but in case you didn’t see it. Watch from 3:00-6:00.

Physical Science: In my two classes that are done with the Unit 1 Test, we started looking at another close reading assignment, this one about “Particles In Motion.” The article introduces the idea of Kinetic Molecular Theory, but does not get into all of that. It’s about how particles are always moving, and how temperature fluctuations affect them. It uses some nice examples dealing with gases, and then relates it to less concrete ideas like particle motion in liquids and solids.

This is of course all linked to our literacy initiative. I also gave each kid 5 Text-Dependent Questions to work on for tomorrow. They also got the scoring rubric that I am using to assess their level of comprehension and ability to make inferences and connections between concepts. I asked them to read the rubric, and select a Level (1-5) for themselves based on what they think they can do. I told them, “All I want is for you to achieve the level that you feel you can.”

Tomorrow I will give them level specific examples of one of the questions, and they will peer review each others examples and see if they met their mark.

Chemistry: We went over the first assignment for our unit on Energy and States of Matter. We are also talking about particle motion on the back of learning about diffusion and expansion/contraction.

To me the most interesting question is the one about “Does the concept of temperature apply to a single molecule?” That always brings up a lot of discussion, and it did today too. The arguments basically take two sides:

1) Yes, because temperature is a way of relating a particles speed, and using that to give us a degree of hotness.

2) No, because temperature is the average speed/energy of a sample of particles. Looking at just one particle doesn’t apply.

Right or not as right, my take on it is no. Temperature, like color, is a collective property. By that I mean, we measure the average kinetic energy of a bunch of particles, not just one. In any sample of matter the particles are colliding billions of times each second. Each time this happens a single particle speeds up and slows down. If we look at the individual particle, it’s kinetic energy changes over time. If you look at two particles though, now the energy gain/loss by one is the loss/gain by the second particle. Over time this would mean that the average energy is constant, so temperature would be constant. Things would change though if we could heat up one or both of the particles, increasing the energy of the system.

So, just as a gold atom doesn’t look gold (but bunches of them do), my take is that you need two or more particles to really talk about the temperature of a system. I would LOVE IT if someone else could argue against it and convince me otherwise. Hit me up with your thoughts.

Physics of Light: They took their quiz on Refraction, Total Internal Reflection, with some reassessment on Intensity. Because of PT Conferences I have not yet assessed them.

I do have AWESOME news though from Physics land. If you read Day 32 then you know we did the laser shoot challenge. When they were done of course I got asked, “What do we do with our drawings?”

I said, “Take them home and put them on the fridge.”

Well, some of them didn’t make it home.

That’s right, they taped them to the front of their lockers! Normally the only signs on the lockers are “Kid Name, Sport,” but now Physics is getting some props. I absolutely loved this. It made PT Conference night even more cool.

Of course, I had to point it out to my principal. She said she was going to throw it up on the schools Instagram site. I hope she does.


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