Class 10-11 Pyret Images & Flags

Over these two days, we took the 1B Summative and then went back to learn how to teach Pyret how to draw images! I put them into pairs so they could start playing with the image functions in Pyret. I tried to really focus on the main skills they needed to get out of this worksheet. #1 – the difference between defining an identifier, and actually using that identifier to draw the shape. and #2 – the need to create complex shapes by joining two at a time. They did really well with this!

Next we worked out creating Flags and they were very motivated and excited about it! Some of them really did some great work on this! I will be so happy once they have all of the Pyret basics down so we can get to using Pyret for physics!

Class 9 Review

Today we had a bit shorter class, so I decided to just review for our Summative on State Diagrams and System Schemas. I created a worksheet (click link) that had completed examples and the kids worked in groups to find errors. We were looking for mismatches in the state diagrams and explanations, missing or extra arrows on system schemas, and mix-ups in explanations (for example, giving motion info in the position description). They did a great job with this! Then we WB it and had some great discussions. I think we are ready for the Summative!

Class 7-8 State Diagrams

So today we were supposed to go to Flipbooks… but it didn’t make sense to me. Last year the discussions were super nebulous for too long – this year I decided to focus more on position, motion and shape earlier. So then given where we were, to make the move to flipbooks didn;t make sense. The point is to draw many frames and make them time-based as well as set up the need to draw many frames quickly (aka use Pyret). But last year when we circled back to energy, the kids were still having issues getting it, so I am hopeful that a bit more focus earlier will help. And we hardly got into forces last year, so we really need to speed up a bit somehow… We will circle back to the flipbook in the next “Topic”, what I am calling 1C where we learn pyret functions and drawings, before we draw the state diagrams with pyret.

But anyway, we went on to Wkst 2, and skipped system schema for now. We redid the worksheet (click link) a bit and added places to write the descriptions. I wanted them to focus on the state diagrams, clearly making them ONE SNAPSHOT in time, and clearly drawing AND verbally describing changes in position, shape, and motion. It took almost an entire class period to do the worksheet and make the WB – but the conversations were so good!

They did such a great job with this! There were still lots of errors and things to discuss, so I don’t think I said too much. Their questions during whiteboarding were really good – for example, some groups added numbers (like the ball was 2 feet above the ground) and everyone agreed that was awesome. They found errors like a position description that said “stationary”, since that should go under motion. They questioned the choice of “initial, middle, and final” and whether those were the best choices to tell the whole story. Or do we need to tell the whole story? They are already starting to say, well we really need more panels….which will be awesome to lead into Pyret. We also had a lot of discussion about shape change (airzooka is stretched out) vs. position change (the airzooka would be in a new location) – even though parts of the airzooka were in a new location. I am really trying in my mind to keep focusing on how this needs to look when these become energies…

After we finished whiteboarding, I introduced system schemas. I figure at this point the couce wof what is in/out of the system is not super important… will be later when we decide if it’s working or energy transfer, but for now, I only care if they have the right objects listed and interacting. I did say if they do not have hands in their state diagrams, then don;t include them (say you started looking after the balls were falling) or if your Airzooka panels did not include the ball falling off the bottle, then don’t include that. I will come up with some practice scenarios for next class….

Overall, I am very pleased with how they are progressing, especially in their whiteboard discussions. Back to Pyret next!

Class 5-6 Observation Stations

I was absent Class 5 taking my kid to college, but my amazing colleagues took over the rest of the Part 1 discussion! In Class 6, we finished the 2nd set of stations, made Jamboards, and then discussed. The part 2 whiteboarding session was so much better, I credit my colleagues and their discussion of part 1! This year, I tried to focus them now on really looking at position, shape (as in stretchiness) and motion. I think this was a better plan as last year I felt like we had too many nebulous discussions that didn’t go anywhere.

We really focused on these conditions, and also these snapshots as SINGLE moments in time (as my new colleague says, they are Instagram posts, not tiktoks!). During the discussion, we talked about not saying “up AND down”… that is two different snapshots. And also focusing on the SHAPE of things, as to how they are stretched or compressed versus the positon of those things changing. This year I am focusing on knowing these are turning into gravitational, elastic, and kinetic energies, and trying to focus their observations that way without telling them.

Overall, I am pleased with how they are progressing!

Class 4 – Observation Stations Part 1

Today we started what I am calling “1B – systems and state diagrams”. We have divided the learning objectives into smaller chunks so we can give small summative assessments at the end of each. Here is the list of how we are breaking it down.

We got into groups of three to do the first three stations: popper, ladybug, and ball drop. We talked about what observations are, and how to make them. Then I had them go to the stations and observe the “initial conditions”, “final conditions” and any changes that happened. And I also said I understand that they really probably have no idea what I am asking, but just to try.

After they did those 3 stations, each group put one station on their jamboard. I just let them put whatever, and we will work it out in the discussion.

We only got to discuss the 3 groups who did Ladybug – but the discussion was going pretty well so far.

I decided this time after part 1, I was going to focus on conditions of motion, position/arrangement (leading toward height …) and shape/deformation. So hopefully after wrapping this discussion we can start to focus on these things in Part 2. Last year I feel like there were too many discussions that seemed confusing and not to get us anywhere. And seeing as we did not even get too far into forces, I need to make up some time. So I am going to try and condense these just a bit… we will see. We will pick this up next class!

Class 3 – Intro to Pyret

Today we talked to Pyret for the first time! We had fun first doing a little “pemdas meme” thing – the kids solved these two problems on a mini whiteboard. Of course they got different answers, so I had a little fun with them like “Oh no, ugh, well this isn’t really working out like I thought…” and I let them fight about the right way to do it.

Then we watched the Pemdas video, and rediscussed why it is important to be specific. Then I asked them my favorite question, which is “How smart are computers?” and of course they all say super smart!! But then they are like… oh well, they are only as smart as what someone tells them… then… ooooh we have to be specific, I get it.

We worked through Worksheet 1 (interested in Computational Modeling Physics First materials? click here or contact me!)- we did part 1 together and I had them predict and share their ideas. Then we wrapped it up together. Lastly we did part 2, and they worked through it alone, and we wrapped up. I had wanted to WB the wrap up, but we didn’t really have time, so we just did it as a class. Worked out well though, I think they got it!

Class 2 – Write It, Do It

Today we did Write It Do It, so we could learn how to speak intentionally to each other and to the computer.

We started off by having them each write instructions for their card, so that their partner could replicate it. I told them not to talk to each other – which was rather challenging!

We then switched instructions, and I had the partner drawing narrate what they were doing, and the partner who had written the instructions to stay SILENT. Their first set of drawings were pretty poor, as expected!

Then we talked about what we wished our partners had told us – sizing, shapes, orientation, positioning, color and solid/outline. Also we discussed knowing your audience, and how you must know that your partner knows the word “circle” if you decide to use it (foreshadowing calling the image library in pyret).

I wish we had a touch more time, because we had to rush part 2 just a bit where they tried again. But they were much better on round 2!

Class 1 – Intro

OK will I ever make it through an entire year of this? We shall see!

Today our school made the decision, no idea why, to have us start with our block rotation right out of the gate instead of giving us a full rotation day to meet all of the kids in shorter blocks… so we had to completely redo our normal 1st day activity.

We started with the “Physics is Life” video that we love! Then played 31-derful from here.

We continued by giving the kids 4 tasks to complete to sort of get set up – the first, a cup-stacking teamwork challenge from Joe Cossette linked here. The 2nd task was to add to a jamboard and screenshot it – I need them to be able to use Jamboard and Classkick. We didn’t quite finish that, so as usual, we will need to pick it up next class!

Overall, it was fun to meet the new frosh and get started on our year!

S2 Days 3-5 Circuits

Days 3-5 we finished the circuits 4-part Lab… link to the doc in last post.

Part 2 – Conductors and Insulators… kids used their squishy circuits kits to test various objects. Part 3 – Checking charge flow with a compass… this is a VERY powerful activity for kids to see that the charge flow is the same everywhere in a (series) circuit, and the battery determines the direction. I stole a ton of awesome gifs from Jill Serling last year that are in the deck (a million thanks!!) and this year we also could do it in person. I went around and talked individually to each group because it is easy to mess this one up… Part 4 we used the genecons to see how energy can be supplied to a circuit without a battery… this led to some nice discussions about how energy is transferred differently – aided by the fact that we did some energy in Unit 1 this year.

After we did all parts, we talked as a class… and then at the very end, we whiteboarded all 4 CERs… of course then I realized we should have WB after each one… not sure why I didn’t, I think honestly just tired. So I need to remember to invest that time every time!

I was a little worried that we have not done CERs yet since it is a big part of our schoolwide science curriculum… but I feel like they are doing very well with them! Quiz is next class!

We will continue the next couple of weeks with Ohm’s Law… then decide to do Series/Parallel or back to comp modeling… I still have up to 5 kids out per class, so I am not sure what to do after the next 2 weeks. If too many kids are still out, we will probably finish out circuits.

I am very thankful though for our school’s handling of Covid… we have been able to minimize absences and the kids have been awesome about following safety rules!

S2 Day 2 – Circuits Lab Part 1

Over the years we have developed a little circuits 4 part lab, mostly CASTLE inspired. The whole deck is here (we transfer this to do the work in Classkick) – HUGE thanks to Jill (@ScienceSprout) for lots of these awesome gifs, images and writing! Last year we adapted it to be fully virtual and gave each kid a squishy circuits kit to take home (yes we are fortunate to have money to do that). We made kits again to use for the next few weeks in anticipation of lots of absences. We only got to part 1 today, which is fine, my new mantra this year is not to stress about it, we get to what we get to (another fortunate situation we have – want to work here? We will have a physics opening next year!).

Part 1 had the kids trying to create a circuit to light the LED, and then using the pHet sim and our circuits boards to come up with the components and configuration for a complete circuit.

We didn’t really have time to WB the CER – we may circle back to that once we are done with all 4 parts. The focus today was on playing with the materials, and the Claim and Evidence part… they don’t know quite enough yet for reasoning.. we may come back to this when we know a bit more!