So we bounced balls and we modeled the real world with some math. I even had students with graphing calculators out with no prompting. We figured out that we can do the basics of this physics thing. But why would we do this physics thing?
I had the students look at this picture for a few minutes. Actually 3.5 minutes exactly. I do this thing where when I give them time to complete a task I open up my iTunes and play a song the length that I give them to work. I even have music sets for longer periods of time. And just in case that is not enough the last song in a set is always orchestral in nature so they know that work time is coming to an end.
I asked them to write about the picture. Start with just noticing details and then ask questions about the picture. What do you want to know about what is going on?
"In this picture, the first thing that i saw right away was the race of all 7 men. They are of course sitting in the streets and they have notebooks and books with them. As people would get stereotyped into the group as "People who live in the projects, have no future". But looking at this picture made me feel like they wanted to better themselves and better their lives and get an education. That was my first assumption. Also, it looks dark outside, and they are outside reading. I'm not sure if it was night or early morning. If it's the morning, it made me feel like they were maybe waiting for a bus or about to go to school. If it's at night, maybe some of them don't have homes with electricity. So they need light to see what they are reading. Their cloths look rugged and worn. They aren't the newest, yet they aren't the oldest. But as I looked into every each and one of their faces, you can just see the determination and dedication they have to better their lives, and actually have and hold a future, instead of risk themselves surviving without an education for the rest of their life."
What teacher needs to say anything when the students bring that kind of heat? What if we brought that to our studies? What if we had a reason to bring that kind of dedication to our studies? The students do not know the question ahead of them yet. The big question will hopefully make their studies this important. And physics is what brings us light today.
Got any good ed tech blogs you can direct me to?
I've also done a ball bounce challenge.
Each group get a different bouncy ball (tennis, lacrosse, golf,
handball, pinky, superball, etc.)
The challenge: Drop the ball though a horizontal hula-hoop elevated
off the ground so that the ball rises back up to the level of the
hula-hoop. The catch -- they only get one chance. (Similar to your
hit the target). Kids do not know the height of the hoop in advance. However, they can
"play" with their ball and take whatever data they need first. Then
all the balls are collected and the hula-hoop is placed. Students can
measure the height of the hoop and make a prediction for their drop
height. When they are ready to drop, they get their ball back to drop
it. If you cannot get a set of different balls, but can get identical
balls, then each group gets a different hula-hoop height to prevent
sharing of answers between groups. I hope this makes sense. The data is very linear and is easily collected.
I ran with it. Physics is intuitive. Physics uses math without ever really knowing you need to. Physics is real. Physics is experimental. Physics is active on the first day. Who knew that hula-hoops are a seasonal item not available in August? I did not. On my way home the first day (I split the lab across two days) I stopped at 3 stores and called two more. A red piece of tape on the wall had to suffice. A good couple of days.
Today I got this email...
For this class, I have to create a website for an assignment, and am struggling with how to do this and not just be reinventing the wheel since we already do Moodle, Quia, Posterous... I want it to be useful, and I've been wanting to do on-line journals for some time now. Can I pick your brains for ideas? I'd like to do something interactive and get them writing a lot more in Spanish. It would be my dream to have students keep on-line journals where they'd have to write 1x or 2x/week in Spanish responding to in-class topics and discussions. It would be great if the students could decide if each entry would be private or public (but obviously I'd like to read them all). I'm not sure if a blogger site would be the best option for this. Do you know of any site where I could, as a teacher, manage their journals? It would be sort of a mix between a forum and a blog. I'd like for them to be able to log in and have all their journals on one page so they could see their progress, like a blog. It would be great for me as a teacher to be able to see each student's entry to a particular discussion all on one page as well so I don't have to click on 70 different blogs to give them a grade.
Here is my response, what would you have said?