Friday, July 15, 2011

FIU Modeling Workshop - Day 14

Since today is the last day, I'm going to write as we go.  That way I don't have to try to remember tomorrow (or later) after driving home.

We start today with Unit IX worksheet 2 & worksheet 3

After finishing my work, I multi-tasked by looking at my twitter feed.  John Burk (@occam98) asked a great question while at a new teacher mentoring workshop:

To which I replied the concerns parents express with not "teaching" their child.  I've been using a lab based program (CPO Physics), and I'm guessing modeling teachers have similar issues.  I know I always have to go in to the idea that my job isn't to tell the answer, but to find the best way to help their child learn the concept.  John replied that there is a lot of talk about this very issue in the modeling listserve.  For those that are thinking of moving into modeling, make sure you give a little thought to the question, "What is your job as a teacher?"  Is it to make sure you tell all the facts you expect the students to know, or is it to create an environment in which they can best learn your subject?  Personally, I hate when teachers talk about "covering" material.  I'll get off my soapbox now.

We next went about whiteboarding our results to the worksheets. 
Notes from board meeting
  • Some of the problems need to be modernized, not sure if students would know what a "Geo" is, Cooper Mini or Smart Car might be better names for the small car.
  • wkst 2 #7 needs to be cleaned up, give students names to avoid "former/latter" terminology
Lab Practicum
(def: looking for 1 final result not collection of data, using skills in the lab to now test the model)
Set up 2 carts 1 with known mass and 1 with unknown mass (tape masses to cart so they can't be seen and can't slide around) "stuck" together.

Use conservation of momentum to determine unknown cart's mass- contest for either grade or some other prize

What worked?
  • Egg seat belt demo
  • All the other demos from Jon
  • Designation of tasks in labs 
    • changing collision scenarios for each group
  • PSSC Frame of Reference Video
  • Having a practicum
    • Jon breaks his class into 4 groups - all members must know how to do it
    • Quiz the next day (small part of grade), only selects 1 persons quiz from each group for group grade
    • Quiz is practicum calculations with slightly different numbers
      • Fixes freeloaders
  • The practicum is a means of measuring mass without the needing gravity
What didn't work?

  • Re-word questions Worksheet 2 #7&8
  • Re-think rocket question Worksheet 1 #7
To finish the day, we took the FCI as a Post-Test, then worked on some surveys for FIU.  With that, warm up the bus, it's been a pleasure:


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  2. Hi Scott! I was there with you, in another room though - the EM group. I took the mechanic modeling last summer. I am so glad that you took the time to blog. Wish I took time to take more notes last year. Said I would this year but again was so wrapped up with the activities that I didnt get to that again.
    Although I implemented the mechanic modeling this past year, it is informative to read over your insights in a summary form. Thanks again
    Janis Mink