The lessons @Chuxiong 2011

Chuxiong in May 2011 was a return visit. In 2007 we did four three hour workshops over two days, mainly oriented towards staff.
This time quite different: three two hour sessions with students.  All studying to be teachers.

The aim:

  1. explore some physics concepts
  2. demonstrate some teaching strategies as alternatives to teacher talk, class unison responses or individual responses
  3. have some fun

This was the lesson trajectory:  Icebreakers (Role Play) > Brainstorm > Pair work on Problems, Drawing diagrams, Processes > Discrepant Event fun > Collaborative small group problem > done

1. ICEBREAKER/ROLE PLAY

As an icebreaker, a role play. Get into pairs (this was a hard concept) and one person is an eight year old and you are the teacher. Talk about the concept “What is energy?”

Then, reverse roles and talk about the concept “What is a force?” Success in some ways was noise and interaction.

2. BRAINSTORM (Pairs > Whole class)

Establish some parameters for the session.
The topic: forces. “In your pairs, list all the types of forces you can think of”
I had a set of pages with Chinese translations on them. Demonstrations, a bit of fun. We compiled our list, with as many real items as possible: falling apple (after climbing up a ladder), magnet, friction (a sliding block), push, pull.

Some formal"chalk and talk" - "consolidation"

3. MINI WORKSHEETS 1-4

1. SPEED OF A TOY CAR.
Aim: diagram drawing.  I had a toy car, and we went out into the corridor to measure it’s speed. Passed out two stopwatches.

2. ENERGY GAIN OF THE TOY CAR GOING UP A SLOPE.
Aim: diagram drawing again, and more of a full process of problem solving.

3. FOUR FREE BODY DIAGRAMS.
FREE BODY DIAGRAMS. I made an assumption that they had covered the concept of Free Body Diagrams. Started with the definition of a free body diagram (in Chinese)

Aim: FBD for Apple on a plate, Apple on a spring, Falling apple, Thrown apple

4. FREE BODY DIAGRAM OF A CONICAL PENDULUM.
Putting it together.

4. DISCREPANT EVENTS

We had a little break.

“Can you balance a coke can on it’s edge?”

The answer of course is yes, when you put a little water into it.

The question then is “Why does it do this?”

5. COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SHEET

“If I climb up to the fifth step of the ladder and then jump, at what speed will I hit the floor?”

Students had to work in pairs, submitting one answer with full diagram, working, units . .

Working together got much much better.

 

The end.  Group photo and we finished.

So what?

More on this later.

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