Day 8: It’s Been a While…

Today I introduced my students to Extra Help Signups at YouCanBook.Me. It is linked to my Google Calendar so it automatically shows my availability. Students can sign up for 10 minute slots and know that they’ll have my full attention during that time. In the past, during free periods I have sometimes had multiple students looking for extra help and I was unable to help all of them effectively. I hope that this will help preempt that situation as well as encourage students to be mindful of and plan their time. Of course, if no one has signed up for a given slot, “walk-ins” will be welcome.

In Physics we went over the two free body diagram examples I collected the last time we had class. I had made comments on students’ papers and then asked them to correct their work with the person sitting next to them, and then join with another pair to come up with a consensus. The comments I made seem to have impeded some of the independent thinking during the group discussions as students already knew which forces they had drawn correctly and which they needed to correct. Then, I asked them to draw their free body diagrams for each situation on the board and we discussed the resulting diagrams. I ran the discussion by asking them to point out things that were the same across each of the diagrams, which worked well to help us focus on the important issues and alleviate some of confusion that could arise by looking at 3 of each type of free body diagram at once.

My senior Physics class was still finishing up the Hover Disc activity and development of BFPM. Some students were concerned that the reason the Hover Disc was speeding up when it was turned on and being pulled with a rope might be because the force was not constant. I tried to attach a spring scale to the wire pulling the Hover Disc and asked one group of students look at the spring scale (and hopefully see a constant force) while the other group judged whether the Hover Disc was moving at constant or changing velocity. Unfortunately, this demonstration was not particularly convincing so I’ll hope to come up with something better for tomorrow.


In Algebra, we started with Estimation 180 and used that as a jumping off point to discuss “absolute error” and “relative error” though not using those words. We compared an error of 8 candy corns in a quarter of a cup to an error of 8 candy corns in a large bag as a way of motivating an alternate (fractional) way of reporting error.

We also started graphing bivariate data. I chose this data set to start, thinking that it would be a good starting point for a discussion of correlation vs. causation, but as I walked around today I saw that most of the students graphed the data accurately, but they seemed to have a harder time seeing the positive correlation.

Approval Rating in 2010 vs. Estimated Presidential IQ


2 thoughts on “Day 8: It’s Been a While…

  1. Do you have a fan cart? I’d attach a fan cart to a spring scale and show them that the force is constant when it is balanced with the spring scale (and they can infer that it’s always constant). Then let the fan cart go and it will move with a changing velocity.

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