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.