So, last year I blogged my combined AP Physics 1 and 2 class. This year, I'm going to do a #teach180 blog for a AP Physics 1 class. I have a student teacher this year, so I don't know how many days of the teach180 I'll get done this year, but I do want to blog a bit this year.
Today was the first day, and I wanted to get right to the lab. So we started the buggy lab. If you don't know about the buggy lab, Kelly O'Shea has an amazing description. We listed our observations; we figured out we would measure time. I do a lot of this lesson like she does. Thanks, Kelly (as well as Brian Carpenter and Chas Deremer.)
But then, when they wanted to use metersticks, I told them I couldn't find them. All I could find was a long measuring tape. So we could only measure the position of the car on the measuring tape rather than the distance from the start line. I like this move. We start with position this way. I also don't quite set my students up to get position-time graphs on the first lab. I like to see what they get without much guidance. (Also a Brian & Chas move.) When they all whiteboard their information, and see what a graph can do, the class often agrees that graphs are the best way to see all the information quickly. I like the discussion that comes out of this confusion.
I also learned something about the question "Is the buggy moving at a constant speed?" Some student hear that as "Does the buggy do the same thing every time?" rather than "During one time down the track, does it stay at the same speed during that one trial?" I'm not sure how to avoid that confusion.