SS Day 2: Analyzing Motion

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Walk the Line Lab with motion detectors.

Walk the Line Lab with motion detectors.

The thing about summer school is that you have to learn a week’s worth of stuff in a single, 5-hour day. 8am-1:30pm with a half hour in there for lunch break sounds sooooo long when you’re not part of the class. Inside our room, the time flies!

Today, we started the day with a homework quiz — something my co-teacher and I came up with to make sure we’re formatively assessing the kids regularly. Homework quizzes resemble the prior night’s homework and are the first thing we do each morning. Today’s scores averaged 90% so I was happy. Pretty much every kid missed a question about velocity because they neglected to include the negative sign.

Next, we went on to Walk the Line, an activity with motion detectors. It’s always popular with the kids and this group was  equally engaged in trying to create perfect graphs. Oh, another benefit of teaching sound first — I held up a motion detector and asked if anyone knew how it worked. Half the kids knew!

Batman Bungee graphs.

Batman Bungee graphs.

Finally, I piloted a lab on analyzing motion of many types. Everyone was tasked with creating a complete set of p-t, v-t, and a-t graphs for a single type of motion:

  • constant velocity in one dimension: bowling ball rolling across tile floor
  • constant acceleration in one dimension: cart rolling down a ramp
  • freefall: ball drop
  • non-constant acceleration: Batman Bungee (see above)

We all copied graphs out of Logger Pro then grouped up to share our findings. The Batman Bungee graphs were beautiful. The students who had the bungee situation commented the p-t graph looked like a transverse wave drawing. We briefly discussed the way the amplitude (their term!) decreased over time and what was happening to Batman over time. Total time was under an hour. Totally worth it, too.

Other stuff today and yesterday: a little lecture and time to practice classwork problems.

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