Days 4-7 Physics

Clearly already falling off the writing wagon!

Day 4: I was absent, they did some CER intro. Posted this in twitter already, but LOVED this intro to CER! I found a video about changing shoes for timing of a race, defining IV, DV, and CV. It turns into a perfect CER! They did it pretty much on their own and it came out great!

Day 5: We reviewed CER – I showed them some examples of ones they wrote that needed work, and some that were good. Then I put them in groups and asked the Key Question – Is Cereal a Soup?. The CER part wasn’t super clear, but it got them in groups and talking, which is what we are trying to practice.

Then we did a paper helicopter CER which came out great – plus some off-screen manipulatives! It was good for defining variables, Claim and Evidence. They earned the 1 point for Reasoning by just ATTEMPTING any explanation about why their claim was true (turns out, lots of folks (except the example I chose!) think heavier things fall faster, and this experiment gave plenty of evidence for that misconception, doh. Need to untangle that later.). But overall I was pretty pleased with this activity!

Days 6/7: We started energy – we were all supposed to go to Computational Modeling in the summer (stupid corona!!!). Since 3/4 of the team are trained modelers, we decided to jump in a bit and start some stuff specific to that curriculum, mainly starting with energy and focusing on the choice of system and state diagrams. This is going pretty well so far. I made up some scenarios to WB and they did such a great job! This one was my favorite… the kids are really adaptable with the tech tools!

Day 3 – CERs in Physics

OK well, I had to be absent today which was annoying, however, I thought this CER activity went GREAT!  (here is the day’ classkick deck).  I always struggle to help them write their first CER and this one is so simple and clean!  I had to make it all asynchronous since I wasn’t going to be there – but it would work with class discussion too.  First I found a video very clearly defining independent, dependent, and controlled variables (which I wish I had when I introduced it the other day), about times in a race with different shoes.  Then I asked them a few basic questions about the experiment…  then showed on the next page (and through a video I made), how that is really a CER!  Each part was SO OBVIOUS, and they could write a decent reasoning about WHY the running shoes were better (we always struggle with this part).  It was so simple and clear and I loved it so much!  We will see if this pays off with paper helicopters next class!




We then had them write CER finding evidence of a physicist “like them” however they defined that.  They made flipgrids and then commented on each others’.  The CERs weren’t terrific but they researched and shared some different scientists and came up with some cool stuff!  Plus they got to interact with each other on video.  🙂


A successful day, I just wish I had been there!  But I got to watch it unfold on Classkick!

Day 3 20-21 Physics/AP C

Freshman physics is going a bit rough.  Sweet kids but we are having some trouble falling into the pattern…  so much so that I sobbed for 20 minutes after class last night.  I feel like I am rushing them, and also like we are moving so slowly.  I need to remember that they really do not know ANYTHING yet and we need to be more explicit and maybe even slow down more.  We did do a breakout group sort of brainstorming some things about how to do better work, this went well – some groups made really nice slides (they all weren’t this nice looking!) At least I think they are starting to talk to each other! I used google slides deck again for WB and it worked well!

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I find it hard to go over anything, because it feels like you are going so slowly, and you don’t even know if they are listening…  and then I feel like I am rushing them.  I think we literally need to give a very tiny thing, then they go in breakouts and discuss, then the next tiny thing…  They did all get logged into pivot, but what I thought was very simple data collection was not simple at all.  I should have simplified further.  After class they tried desmos graphing – they look ok, but clearly some watched the video and some did not!  They also have not gotten the idea that they need to do ALL of the classkick slides (even the ones we did not do in class….).  We will get there. 🙂

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Now the good stuff. AP is going great.  Today we finished up the acceleration lab, talked about tangent lines (w/ modeling wkst), and made velocity graphs.  This class is going great, I just need more time with them.  Feedback from them is good though.  They seem to know what to do and are cranking along at a decent pace.  I guess I will grab a few screenshots from their work, because I really can’t take pictures in class.

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Day 2 20-21 Physics/AP C

Well two more days in the books.  Whew.

AP Physics C Mechanics:  Week 1 was great!  Classkick was amazing.  Kids loved it.  Smooth, smooth, smooth. I did spend like 10000 hours crafting the deck, but still.  Paid off!  Pivot Interactives and Classkick were very popular with the kids!  If you want to be added to the google folder with all my AP slides email me at  Here is the link to all the classkicks (AP ones say AP).

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Today we did some work with velocity graphs.  I had them use the moving man phet sim (but it was sooooo slow) to sort of recreate motion detectors.  I could have just explained v vs t graphs (constant velocity only) in like 5 minutes and this took… 30?  But they worked in groups, and we learned to be specific about saying position or velocity, slope, y-axis…, flat, straight, etc… so I think it was time well spent.  I gave them a google slide deck to make and then we came back together to talk.  Some of the slides needed some work on explaining things CLEARLY.    I liked this a lot because in grid view I could look at them all as they worked.  Class Slides.

I wanted to take acceleration data in Pivot today, but only had time to explain it.  😦

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Frosh Physics: Went fairly well…  Everyone set up their Classkick account with minimal issues so that was good!  It was loading a bit slowly and that was annoying… hopefully it was just a glitchy day.  We talked very briefly about class policies, and then we did a little Class is Lava thing that I stole from John Meehan on twitter (@MeehanEDU).  This went pretty well!  In retrospect, I should have simplified it, and put everything in Classkick instead of having them also reference a slide show.  Almost everyone got signed up to Flipgrid and Remind so that was good.  They didn’t really seem to understand that after class there were still lots of slides in Classkick they were supposed to do…  I think it was because some stuff was in the Class is Lava google slides deck too.  That was my bad.  But it’s ok, I will just have them try again after explaining next class.  The onboarding of the freshmen is always rough, but this is especially tough!!






Day 1 20-21 Physics/AP C

WHEW!  Wow if I thought getting the prep work and planning done was harder online that’s nothing compared to actually teaching an online class!  I have no idea how people who have zoom and f2f students at the same time are doing it…  rough.

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Anyway, 9th grade physics went fairly well!  I got better by the 3rd and last class!  We did some intro and human bingo.  Then we used Joe Cossette’s Inquiry cubes virtually!  I made this slide deck and then transferred to Classkick and added the links for each cube. They were pretty cute!  Exhausting but so far so good.

Thursday I met my two AP classes.  Thank goodness these are small classes!  This was tough.  So much of what they do and learn happens live and during side conversations.  This is going to be rough.  And they are sad bc most of them are seniors.  But we trudged on and did fairly well!  I like having them in breakout groups, but it’s hard to pop in a room and not have any idea where they are at in the discussion…  and you can;t just yell out something to everyone…  typing in is not the same.

I am giving them a week of work at a time and using zoom time to review, discuss, extend etc…  I am making google slides AP Week 1 then importing to classkick.  Classkick is working great!  They did a lot of work prior to the 1st day and I could comment and explain and they could fix stuff.  That will be great!  And they were way better at inquiry cubes than the freshman, not surprisingly!

Whew, I think it’s going to be a long year.  But I think we are in as good of a place as we could be at this point!  🙂

2020-2021 Day -2

OK I am going to try and keep the blog again this year.  Maybe this is the year I actually do it every day!  I have only Freshman Physics and AP C Mechanics this year, so I will try to keep them both here, focusing on things that may be helpful to others or to “future” me.  🙂

We are starting all distance, and really have no idea when we will go back…  We meet 2x week for 70 minutes (Can mix synchronous and asynchronous).  Fridays are for office hours and other programming.

Initial decisions:

  1. We will be using Classkick as our main delivery method.  Our school got the Pro account, though it is not too expensive for a single teacher to get pro.  I find it easier to create content on computer, and grade work on the ipad w/ apple pencil.  I have started it with my AP kids for some pre-work and so far it is working great.  Here is an instructions and tips sheet I made.  Here is a link to all of my Classkicks (both Frosh and AP are in there).  I made them in google slides then imported to Classkick as background.  If you would like the AP folder where my stuff is, please email me at  I need to figure out how to share the freshman stuff because it is a shared folder with colleagues…
  2. Our freshman will get a Classkick each class day with it due that night (sometimes they will get more time if it involves some kind of lab writeup).  We are allowing late submissions, technically until the end of the unit, but will work on getting kids on track far earlier than that.
  3. My AP class will get one Classkick per week, with a fair amount of asynchronous work.  We will use Zoom time to clarify concepts and work on more in depth stuff…
  4. In Freshman Physics we will spend 2.5 weeks to get the kids able to use the technology and start some CER writing… no real physics content.  We usually sort of weave the skills in, but that seemed too risky in the distance environment.

That’s the main stuff for now… I am just ready to get started.  I need to embrace the chaos…  I am not so good at that.  :). I just want to finally see my kids!!!

Physics camp day 5

Today was our last day of camp! We played with mirrors, then put finishing touches on our cars and ran them! Most eggs survived!! Then we headed to pier 39 for laser game and mirror maze, plus some treats!

Great week with these kids!

Physics camp day 4

Circuits today! We learned the basics of what makes a circuit, then used playdoh and LEDs for some neat creations! In the afternoon we made lighted greeting cards (and some kids continued work on their crash cars). Fun day!

Physics camp day 3

Well I pretty much forgot pictures today!! We started with water rockets! We built them in the morning, and launched in the afternoon.

We walked up to he playground to see the physics of swinging, spinning and flying! Stomp rockets morphed into a feisty game of war! We stopped for liquid nitrogen ice cream on the way back!

Physics camp day 2

Today was things that crash! We learned about inertia through “magic tricks”. We used a water balloon toss to study momentum and impulse, then used our new knowledge in egg carrying devices! We did a naked (yes just the egg) drop, a soft landing with balloons and then started on our paper cars!