Blog Archives

Mid Break

Break is coming fast and the holidays are upon us. We are finishing the semester next week. One of the bright spots in the quarter was the Physics project we did. It was the Lead Physics Teacher’s (Angie Mechler) idea. Using the Photo Contest rules from American Physics Teachers website, students followed the directions and presented their photos. Since this was our first time we really didn’t know how the students would do. We found some pretty cool pictures were submitted by the students however, I think we need to be more specific about the rules and what we expect. But then being surprised is the whole point. The project was an overall success with the students and the “plus” was it was completed near the end of the quarter.

Of course with any project there are certain points we can improve upon. I think one of them is to be very specific about the topics, do we want the students submitting photos about the topic we are currently covering or can they look at other physics topics. Something to think about. The instructions do a good job in explaining the categories; Natural, Contrived and Multiple. However, if you want the students to concentrate on a specific topics such as electricity, light, or motion you may need to make sure students know this. Also we used our school’s website and created a dropbox, so students could submit their work digitally. Both the picture and essay were digitally submitted. This was a big help.

I’m thinking of using this in Earth Science at the beginning of the year. Maybe have students use their vacation photos that display Earth Science topics. I could see many submissions displaying environmental issues or topics. I would use the same categories, but change it to fit Earth Science topics. I really do think this is a pretty cool assignment for the kids. It helps the student who has that creative skill that sometimes is missed in science.

On another note, there was some really good links recently posted to Free Technology for Teachers. One of the neat little tools the author of the blog introduces is Quick Screen Share and Screencast-o-matic, both look awesome. I like this blog because Richard Byrne really gives some great descriptions about different free tools on the internet. I’ve subscribed to his blog and have not been disappointed with some of the Web 2.0 tools he recommends.

First Day!

The first day of 2011-2012 is over and in the books! It went well, I think?  Especially since I  used a new idea for setting up lab groups in the classroom. Another teacher and myself used an idea posted on Frank Noschese’s Blog. So here is how it went,  we used some of the groupings listed on Mr. Noschese’s blog and added our own. For example, I included colors and Planets, my colleague included TV channels.

Colors: Red, Blue, Green and Yellow

Planets: Saturn, Earth, Venus and Mars

With one of the groups given by Mr. Noschese, Disney I added Pluto. I did this because of the Planets group, hoping the students catch this. Well they did, and that brought up a discussion about dwarf planets. Awesome!!

I handed out index cards as students entered the room. Students were asked to put their names on the front of the cards. On the other side  were the words used in the groupings. Once everyone was ready, I had students gather in their groupings. It took a while but the students did a good job working together to find the proper groupings.  This was a great way to start the class.  Tomorrow we will talk about the post game analysis, since we had to finish going over Safety and the Syllabus.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to do some whiteboarding and introduce this strategy to my Earth Science students. I’m using Density as a starting point.

Just a post


As you can see I really can’t figure out what the title of this post should be.  I’ll start by saying that the UNC Exploring the Future of Electricity workshop was great. I came away with a ton of information on alternative energy sources, nuclear power and other topics. The second day was filled with a talk on Biomimicry and hands on activities. The Biomimicry was very interesting, using nature scientists and inventors have developed different technologies that “create more sustainable and healthier human technologies and designs”(taken from the Biomimicry Institute). We then completed an activity called “Function Junction”. A hands on activity “that gives young students practice in identifying function in the biological world and relating it to human design challenges”(taken from lesson).  We explored the UNC Botanical Gardens for ideas and discussed them at the end of the activity. The lesson can be found at this link Function Junction.  After a brief break we did hands-on wind and solar energy activities. The activities included kits we could use in the classroom; Hydrogen Fuel Cell, Dye-sensitized Solar Cells, wind turbines, and solar houses. Every one of the activities could be used in class with no problem, however when is the key question. Overall the workshop was awesome and I came away with more information for hands on materials.

On another note my “crazy” colleague, and I  put that in quotes  because I know she is going read this! Has finished a three week modeling course. The course introduced the modeling teaching strategy. Hopefully we will be introducing this teaching technique into our Physics class this year. Further blogs and comments will be coming in the future about how this worked in class. I think this upcoming school year is going to be one of testing and changing the different teaching techniques.

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Hydrogen fuel cell kit

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Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells


Hello! This just a note to inform everyone that I’m using this blog in collabaration with my blog on discovery education. Take a look at both and enjoy.

This  blog is not an expert blog, it  is mainly used to jot down events and ideas during the school year. Below you will find blog posts from my Discovery Education blog.