NSTA Presentation Links

For ease of use, I thought I would put the links to our google folders here…

Modeling Forces with Newton’s Third Law First

Thursday, 5pm, A311

N3L Google Folder

Modeling Energy in Physics with Multiple Representations

Saturday, 8am, C302

Energy Google Folder

Proportional Reasoning:  The Missing Piece of your Calculations

Saturday, 2pm, C209

Proportional Reasoning Google Folder


Day 62/63 – Circuits Intro Lab

Well, I got very behind on the blog – we went to NSTA, then I went on a trip with my mom…  so this is going to be pretty incomplete, but I want to actually document an entire year for once and not quit!

We spent 2 days on the Circuits Intro lab here, where the kids found out basic ideas about circuits, such as needing a full loop, conductors/insulators, and using a genecon as an energy source instead of a battery.

We started with the misconception questions from Physics Classroom…


I love asking these and then not telling them the answers!  We go over it again later after we finish the lab!


Day 61 – ES exam and Circuits intro

Today we had the electrostatics test.  We were thinking it would go pretty well.  During the test one of my kids, usually does very well, comes up to ask a question, and I see that he has marked “both charges feel the same force”…  but then draws them such that the bigger charge has a bigger force.  Sigh.  I felt so defeated, but thought, maybe an anomaly?  So..  my colleague started looking at her tests first…  and sees quite a few kids, many who normally do really well, doing the same thing.  Bigger charge has bigger force, yet they mark “they feel equal force” when asked.  We should have asked for quantitative, but we didn’t though some kids did.  I did ask mine to circle the N3L pair though when I gave them the test, but even that did not seem to help.

She thinks maybe its her, and mine are probably better.  Well, I get home, look at mine, and… sigh.  Lots of kids do the same thing.  Dang it!!!!  I can’t believe it.  We stress Newton’s 3rd Law the entire year, we do a bunch of discussion and review of it…  and yet, we ask it in a little different way and BANG.  Out comes the misconception.  Ugh, we felt seriously so defeated.  My plan is to interview some of the kids and see if I can figure out what happened.  Oh well, there is always next year.  More later after I talk to the kids.  I mean, wow, this seriously sucks. I wish I had last year’s to compare…  we talked about the N3L pair when we did the Pivot Interactives lab…  maybe that was the key?  Or maybe the way we asked the question this year (it was a bit more involved than the test last year) uncovered it…  who knows.  Sigh.

After the test, we started into circuits by asking them to light a bulb with just a wire and a battery.  Every year, it never ceases to fascinate me that they try to light it like they are plugging it in.  No loop.  So funny.  And they complain that they are so frustrated…  and I say good!  That is perfect, now you will learn!  Some figured it out by the end, some not…  I said oh well, I guess it will bother you until next class! 🙂





Day 60 – Electrophorus and review

Today we talked more about charging by friction, polarization, and learned about grounding.  We first played with John Travoltage from phet sims, and then went through lighting a neon bulb with an electrophorus.  We finished the class with some review problems posted around the room.  Test next class!


Day 59 – Coulomb’s Law

Today we did some practice with coulomb’s law and proportional reasoning…  we had them draw the different scenarios around the room and then whiteboarded them and discussed.  They seemed to be doing pretty well – but in retrospect we should have made these more quantitative, making them draw the force diagrams more to scale and with numbers.

After that we had a little time to do some electrostatics fun!  They used a charged balloon to pick up neutral paper punches, attract their hair, and move a can.  Many of them were pretty psyched about this!


Day 58 – Electrostatics

Today we practiced some questions about charging by friction and electron movement…  how cute are these kids and their whiteboards?  They were so proud.  I love them.

Next we did a simulation for Coulomb’s Law…  last year we used the Pivot Interactives that I really loved (I was helping trial it) and we should have bought a subscription for this year… but we were too late to work it out.  A colleague found this simulation which worked ok – not as good, but we just sort of looked qualitatively at it.

We then developed the equation, which they freaked out about a bit… but all good.  I also drew a parallel the universal gravitation equation, which went over the heads of some, but some found it very interesting.

Then we worked out proportional reasoning, and hammering home the force as an interaction governed by Newton’s 3rd Law.  We may go back and solve coulomb’s law problems quantitatively, we will see if we have time.  If anything needs cut, that will be it.


Day 57 – Sticky Tapes CERs

Today we focused on writing the CERs for the sticky tapes lab.  This worked really well – first we brainstormed the bid ideas from the lab.  My colleague had her kids do some pre-reading from physicsclassroom.com before the discussion, I did not.  I subbed for her this class, and I think her classes did much better during the discussion, so note to self:  do the pre-reading next year!

After the brainstorming in groups, we made a list of the big things to hit in the CERs.  Then we went through the 3 claims, and I gave some instruction on the reasoning for each.  For polarization, first the did the balloon phet sim, and then we discussed.

This all went really well, and I am proud of them (and us!) for sticking it out on the CER model.  We are all really starting to get the hang of it!

Sticky Tapes lab here.

Sticky Tapes CER doc here.

Slides here.