Day 6: Station Observations Part 2 #cmpfb

For Part 2 stations, I picked the more exciting three stations: Airzooka, Mass on a Spring, and Ball Drop. I gave the groups 3 minutes and 6 seconds at each station. After the rotation, we gathered back together to complete our whiteboards (which I did on Jamboards again). I told them about how Mrs. F and I have an informal competition going on and we’re constantly striving to show each other how excellent our students’ works are. So I encouraged them to show some pictures of the initial condition, final condition, and the changes in between.

The whiteboards were significantly better this time around. Students took the time to include photos of what they considered to be initial conditions and final conditions. This helped the dialogue for our whiteboarding sessions as well. After they finished their whiteboards, I prefaced our whiteboarding sessions with asking them if they have ever experienced telling a story that they were excited about to somebody who didn’t match their excitement for their story. I asked students what kind of reaction they’d like from the person listening. They mentioned things like ask questions that would make us elaborate what we mean, not asking questions that would have them repeat what they said, and things like body language to show listening.

With that, I explained that the whole purpose of today’s exercise was to improve our whiteboarding sessions from Part 1. Last class, we practiced presenting and being good audience members. This class, we will work on having an actual science dialogue. This will be audience participation required. I set some expectations like the class has to ask 3-5 questions out of the presenting group before we can move on to the next group. Across all three classes, the majority preferred the dialogue whiteboarding experience.

Some students asked clarifying questions like

  • How far were you to get the airzooka to move the ping pong ball until you couldn’t move it anymore?
  • Which ball did you put on top to get a more exciting result?
  • Would the ball’s “boinkness” differ depending on the order you put the balls? Would it change if you used more than two balls?
  • Would the spring lose “springiness” if we pulled too much?

Some students found stock images from Google image search and used it in their slide. I learned to ask about words that they included from those images. When they told me they couldn’t explain it, we all learned a lesson in using words we’re not prepared to address. I think one group included “equilibrium position” in their mass on a spring slide and when I asked about it, they couldn’t really explain it. So we talked about using images and the words it includes, and perhaps not using them if we’re not ready for it. For some students, it clicked why I wouldn’t let them use the word energy. For others, they were still wondering why their physics teacher didn’t know the meaning of friction or any energy types.

One class wanted to know what would happen if we stacked all the balls used in ball drop to see if their “boinkiness” theory from the class discussion would hold. It was fun to see the class coming together to make it happen. They directed each other and I pretty much stayed out of their experiments. They only asked me if it was safe to try.

I think the key part was to explain BEFORE whiteboard presentations what our purpose was. In the post-whiteboarding discussion, we talked about how much richer our discussions were. A couple students noticed that I didn’t say much and that they learned from each other. Five years of whiteboarding sessions, and I feel like I finally ran a session successfully. I feel pretty confident that our classes will use the whiteboarding sessions to be a richer and more meaningful to the learning experience.

Day 5: Observation Stations Part 1 #cmpfb

Started the class with having students reflect on their Pyret homework assignment. They came up with some great reflections about what they noticed about Pyret. There are still a lot of students calling the feedback messages errors, so that just means I’ll have to be way more intentional about calling them FEEDBACK instead of errors. I guess it was just much faster to convert our language over the summer since we’re a whole bunch of modeling teachers. The class that called them constructive criticism reverted back to errors. Looks like this will be a whole year of feedback reminders.

We discussed the meaning of observations. It was interesting that students were immediately saying that it means to analyze something. The idea of analyzing vs. observing were always quite different to me when I was a science student. Upon further discussion, it seems that their definition of analysis is to take in the information through their senses and make sense of it. For example, they see an object. Based on past experiences, they’ve determined that object is a blue marker that maybe smells like cheese. They had to analyze the information coming into their brains to make sense of it. I really like that idea and should have kept that idea of input and analysis going, but that wasn’t today’s goal.

Today, we observed the Rubbing Hands, Popper, and Wind-up Toy stations. We talked about the initial conditions and the final conditions and of course the changes. I think I did pretty well with Blocks 1 & 2 in setting up the rules and the procedures of how to successfully do a whiteboard session. During Block 3, I think they were trying to get to the end, but sadly, there was no real “end.” Block 3 is very results-driven and across the board, all three classes were concerned that I’ve never heard the words kinetic energy or friction. Here are some sample whiteboards from the three classes.

Amelia Bedelia and Pyret #cmpfb

Physics Day 3

Today, I planned to do a notebook setup, go over the syllabus, finish Vector Force, and do a team challenge activity with Solo cups. What actually happened: barely got through notebook setup, rushed through syllabus, did not touch Vector Force, Block 3 did the team challenge with the cups…and had them start on their homework.

I once again planned way too many things for Day 3. It’s a bunch of boring stuff, but I think what needs to happen is that one of the first days just needs to be dedicated to setting up their Physics Interactive Notebook. I think it’s a waste of class time, but it’s super valuable for the rest of the year for setting up a system.

Physics Day 4

My new agenda thanks to Slidesmania.com!

I think today was the first day I actually feel successful with what I did in class. I carried out what I actually planned to do. I had students introduce each other to the class. This started out our practice of getting up in front of the class to explain the whiteboards. Also, this was practice for the class of using each other’s pronouns! I’m glad I asked.

For Vector Force, I ended up assigning it as homework, but the shortened version. The tasks they had to do were basically sign up for Desmos, sign up for Remind.com, fill out a Google form. Then we started the #cmpfb work. We went over some classic Facebook arguments about simplifying expressions and the importance of the Order of Operations vs. understanding the beauty of arithmetic. Then we started Pyret. It was good timing because some of the 9th graders realized during class that they didn’t have their computers with them. (Oops!) One of them did say that they were really fortunate to have their parents be dedicated to their schoolwork that they would drop it off at school for them!

Overall…..great Day 4. Day 3 needs work.

First 2 Days of Physics #cmpfb

Alleluia! We are back in person. It’s not exactly back to pre-pandemic times. We are masked indoors (so yes, that means the classroom) and the windows have to be open. Right now, the Bay Area weather is lovely so I’m happy to have the windows wide open and to be outside to enjoy lunch. I’m hoping that we will be 100% vaccinated and that the restrictions be lifted by the time the cold and rainy days hit.

First Day of School with Ms. Medrano

I realize now that this blog has just been an ongoing diary of what I do so that I don’t forget what I did the next year. So hopefully, I took great footage this year to remember how to setup for next year! It is a different experience starting in-person this year after getting into the groove of virtual/Zoom teaching. I can’t wait until I find my rhythm.

Day 2: Ms. M tried to do too much

When I teach both AP CSP and Physics in the same day, I’m teaching 4 classes. Most teachers only have 3 classes to teach, so I’m going to need to accept the fact that it’s going to be a practice of endurance. I was describing to former students what I tried to do in class today, and one of them said, “Ms. Medrano, why you do them like that? They’re just getting used to high school!” Block 1 students offered the feedback that things are just all over the place. I listened and adjusted a ton for Blocks 2 & 3. For next class, Block 1 will definitely slow way down.

Write It, Do It took about 30 minutes, but we didn’t have the notebook system in place just yet. Today, papers were flying. Students were confused about what papers they were receiving and where they should put it. It was through no fault of theirs as papers did look like they were flying in the classroom. Also, maybe we felt this way because we didn’t have to deal with a bunch of paperwork in a digital learning environment.

Next year, I should just do a notebook setup session. Get our organization and workflow down so that when we add in our activities, we know the system. After Block 1, I found out that it was a good idea to have the students names on their notebooks. I found a couple of notebooks left behind without names. Oops! For Blocks 2 & 3, I made sure that their names were printed on labels with subject and block.

I finally had some rhythm by the time it came to Block 3. I had them tape their Syllabus to the first page. Table of Contents for pages 2-6. Learning Objectives were taped to page 7. Write It, Do It was taped to page 8. During some down time, we numbered the notebook pages. I told Students to be careful while numbering. Sure enough, we found a couple rushed numbered pages. Luckily, we caught it early, and NOT when they reached the 100’s only to find out that it was back in the 10’s!

Students for the most part have been super awesome and willing to go with the flow. I am lucky to be their teacher this year!

#cmpfb Day 11: Conditionals and Conventions

Waller, Julia. Vector Black and White Space Bird Illustration. vector. https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/vector-black-white-space-bird-illustration-715775038

Birds in Space– We started our day off with discussing the forces acting on a bird sitting on a perch. Then someone asked if the bird was on Earth, which lead to a nice comment about a bird not wearing a helmet so that it could breathe. Someone else sent a link to a shutterstock image of a bird wearing a space helmet. I had to include it to remind me (and the students) that saying where everything is happening is important (at least in Ms. Medrano’s class). Here we include the object naming and sign conventions. As the discussion was happening, I was thinking about what we normally do.

Normally, we’d tell students the different types of forces (normal, tension, friction, and force of gravity). Then we would go into type-feeler-dealer notations. I’m thinking if we go into feeler-dealer notations and then creating the need for the type, would that create a better space for students to need to label the forces. I’m thinking that the way I’ve always done it is better (mostly because it’s the way I’ve always done it), but then there could be advantages I don’t yet see with going the way it was presented to us in the workshop.

I do like that the sign conventions were added into the template so that students can decide on a final convention at the end of the whiteboarding session. I also had feelings about the summation of forces, but I didn’t write them down. I’ve inserted images of Kristy’s, Kim’s, Geoff’s, and my group’s boards below so that I can remember what mistakes our students might make. All of the boards are supposed to have some common misconceptions on the board somehow.

Our group chose to focus on the surface and the earth as one thing. I really liked how Yasiri put the question. When we raise the ball above the dirt, what is “pulling it down”? Is it the dirt? Is it the earth’s field? Actually, I’m not sure if she said earth’s field or if I’m inserting some of my own ideas there. I wonder if maybe here, I don’t tell students the types of forces, and they can argue it out a bit. Then we create the need to differentiate the different types. Or would that allow for misconceptions to root itself and then it’ll be hard to undo them? More thinking required here.

Ball, Sand, Fan

For our next activity, we went into whiteboarding our ideas on Ball, Sand, Fan. If my group hadn’t pointed it out, I would not have noticed that the ball’s velocity was also changing. I’m glad Adam and Emma were patient and kind enough with their words to let me know that there was some sort of acceleration for parts of the ball’s motion.

I’m not going to post my notes and pictures here because it’s telling too much. Rather, I’m going to remind myself to look at the CMPF- Day 11 notes that are uploaded into Google Drive. Even now, looking at the notes and screenshots I took, I cannot tell that the ball was speeding up or slowing down. When I went into office hours today (yes, I know…I actually made it to an office hours session), John walked me through the interaction and acceleration directions. I’m pretty sure it came up a few times during our class discussion because I kept writing over and over again: ?- acceleration vs. interaction and confusing acceleration & interaction. I’m guessing it would be here at this point when students recognize balanced and unbalanced forces.

When we drew the summation of the forces, it was easy to see that the forces were balanced (for the part that was balanced). I thought that we would only discuss balanced forces, but now that I’m looking back at my notes, we go into unbalanced as well. Actually, now that I’m really reviewing my notes, the whole programming portion goes into balanced or unbalanced + direction of sum of forces. Insert face palm emoji. (When I taught middle school, I always used to say something along the lines of- we’re just glad you made it to the party. I’ve finally arrived to today’s Pyret party)

Before leaving the Zoom, Melissa showed us a demo of two carts on a cart and showing how the forces are equal and in opposite directions of the graph. I’m thinking this is when we do our Levi’s vs. the tree spring scale discussion. I think adding that demo would reinforce the N3L idea, but then she said she never really calls it N3L. So now, I have to go back and think about it again.

At the end of today, I’m glad I went to office hours AND blogged about the whole experience…because I’m not sure I would have arrived at the same conclusions if I write this tomorrow. Now, time to complete the homework.

Week 2: Uniform Acceleration

After writing Brain Mush, I felt like I was on fire and ready to write. Not sure what happened Tuesday through Friday, but it did feel like a whirlwind. I might say that the pace was constantly accelerating, and when the weekend hit, I needed to gather myself.

I ended up writing an initial plan for Unit 3 to kind of work things out. I used a mixture of the materials already found through the modelinginstruction.org site and stuff that I randomly found in my own Google Drive. What I really liked about how I’ve laid it out is highlighting the questions that students can answer during whiteboarding sessions. My most recent focus is how the whiteboarding discussion sessions go. One of the strategies I enjoyed was having students ask questions of each other’s boards. I’ve had students do this in the past, and they use the question, “Why did you choose to do it this way?” the most. The answering group would get off easily with “I don’t know. We just did.” I’d like to make the questioning and answering portion a richer discussion where students actually end up learning something from it.

I used to dislike this unit so much because of how quickly it hits. I’ve barely finished grading tests and retests from the previous unit and then I feel like this unit is over. With the addition of the programming pieces, there will be more thinking about the computational aspect of acceleration, but there will also be some breathing room (I’m hoping) with the grading between assessments.

Unit 3: Uniform Acceleration Model So Far

Days 5-7: Brain Mush

I’m not sure if it was the Fourth of July weekend or this new eating plan I just started, but my brain is having a hard time functioning and remembering to post my daily reflections. It’s really important that present self do this so that future self can go back and refer to these!

DAY 5: Constant Velocity and Motion Maps

Started off in teacher mode and discussed some of the guidelines for discussion from Step-Up curriculum. After looking at the https://engage.aps.org/stepup/home Step Up website, I’m inclined to learn more about it. Perhaps, after I wrap my mind around CMPF stuff.

Unit 2 Activity 1: Simulation Motion Part 2- Then we went into Pyret. At this point, we figured out that we should add comments to the same line to include our comments. (No numbers should be caught in public naked!) We plugged our Design Recipe into Pyret. I wrote some notes for myself about what students should know at this point.

U2 A1 Notes

I wrote a couple of the questions that I heard the leaders ask. I did first say that it looks like the object was moving faster when we changed the delta-t, but I eventually picked up that it’s the smoothness factor. We change it so that it looks more like the buggy moving in real-life. I also wrote in my notes that the function next-x(current-x) is super important. However, obviously, I should have gone to office hours to figure out some other things. I’m hoping Kim, Kristy, or Geoff has that part that I’m missing. As I’m reviewing my notes, I’m also realizing that I did not finish a few of the assignments. Real life student-mode here…I’m going to be lost if I don’t finish it.

Class Discussion leading to motion maps:

I really appreciate how Jess leads his class discussions and the leading questions he poses. I hope I wrote all of them down because the way his discussion goes, it’s like he’s telling a story. The story of how velocity came to be. When a textbook tells it, it’s not as compelling. I’m definitely getting some campfire vibes whenever he leads us to a concept that we need to know. The picture he shows is what he would have had students complete before the discussion. At this point, we have collected data and are discussing what we see. The goal here is to come to some class agreements of what a motion map needs and the definition of velocity.

AFTER BREAK– I need to get better overall about getting my brain to be on. It seems as though from 11A-12N (PST), I lose it. I can’t hold on. However, it looks like a different part of my brain is at least trying to pull it together…based on the notes. When we WB’d initially, we changed some things in our Pyret program and the results didn’t come out to be as expected. Some personal cognitive dissonance happened here, and instead of persevering, my brain went into shut-off mode. Again, here, I’m hoping Kim, Kristy, and Geoff have better information than I do. At least I have some excellent whiteboards to jog my memory of what we did?

DAY 6: Multiple Objects

New Week, New Struggles

The teacher mode discussion was about the article we read, which I really enjoyed reading. It made me think of the times I’ve had 5 females and like a bajillion males in one class at at time. It also made me appreciate the female students that have come back to talk to me about their own apprehension in a science classroom and how having a female science teacher has impacted their own self-talk.

We went into a class discussion of turning our motion map “sideways.” Instead of it laying horizontally it’s now vertical. Then we went over and transferred the information into a x-t graph. It was strongly suggested that we do the physically moving of the axis–like take the ticker tape and move it vertically so that students can see that it’s just the motion map standing up.

#intentionalLanguage

The Physics team has really struggled with the x & y axes nomenclature because then everything happens in terms of x and y. During the Two Bicycles activity, we came to the aha! moment that we should just call it horizontal and vertical axis…and never ever call it x & y axes. That seems to click with us a lot better. We did get new groups, so Team Pixar had to break up. I have to think of a cute name for the new group, with teachers who all happen to teach in the Bay Area.

We went back to Pyret and was given some started code. My group had to change some of the names because we called it different things in our Design Recipe. Note: Tell the students what the identifiers are because then changing the names would affect how the code would run. Students with some programming experience would be able to catch that, but I’m not sure if all would. We coded for Runner 1, Runner 2, and then tried to figure out a more general code so that we wouldn’t have to code for Runners 1 and 2 separately. We did not get there. I think I got lost somewhere, but not sure where. Kim said she went to office hours and figured it out with Gretchen…so I think I’ll ask her.

DAY 7: End of Unit 2

During today’s session, it was so painfully obvious who did and did not do their HW. I distinctly remember someone asking something in the chat and many people responded: “It was in the reading.” I chatted with Kim on the side how I’m not usually that person, but this week…doing homework and going to office hours is not in the stars for me.

Our day started off with Melissa showing us her notes for multiple objects. I wrote that this should happen before students take data. Then use the buggies to test the code made from the multiple runners program. I also had to expose myself a bit and write down what we should have known…because I have not done the homework or readings. I’m furiously trying to catch up while my mouth is numb from the dentist.

Velocity-Time Graphs are introduced here. The question: What will the velocity-time graph tell me? was asked and answered after a jamboard discussion. The jamboard gave students a starter picture and then we were expected to draw arrows on the motion map and create a v-t graph for the BLUE buggy. Other groups were in charge of drawing a v-t graph for the red buggy. I purposely made the error that most of my students make of transferring their x-t graph knowledge into this new representation, v-t graph. I’m not so sure that my group members know that I was acting or if they thought I was in #authenticstudentmode. I told Kim and Kristy today that my acting skills are sooooo good that feedback from student surveys are often filled with: “My teacher never knows what’s going on.” I like the line of questioning that we went through and went into how negative time doesn’t exist. We did a gallery walk of Our Model So Far.

After the break, we went into more graphical representations. We first WB’d a fast and slow object then ADDED to the WB, an object that is moving slow then becomes fast. I like that idea of adding to the model instead of just introducing it separately.

Wheel and Axle Lab happened here on Pivot. Now we see that the points no longer form a straight line. Rather, it forms a curved line. It was suggested that we take data from the other side of the number line too. We ended the day with a discussion on tangent line, but not sure where my brain went. I’ll probably review it some more today and write some more notes about it.

Day 4: Energy Buckets and Buggy Lab

I’m not used to coming into my next session with questions. I like to feel confident that I understood completely what happened the day before, but I need to sit with that (and remember that I will have students feeling this way). We do start our day off with a Jamboard of creating a system schema for the Energy Skate Park sim. A couple things I found out today.

  1. The head of the skater turns as it switches directions. How many years have I been using this same simulation, and I have never noticed it? I am grateful for my more perceptive colleagues.
  2. Using the frame by frame button gets the skater to where we could talk about them ideally…and not just theoretically. I will need to utilize this button when doing the class demos.
  3. Referring to the types of energies as “buckets” was easy for me to digest and illustrate. I can clearly see the characteristics that would go in there.
  4. I still don’t understand Energy.

I appreciate the way that the discussion was laid out this morning. It made me get a clearer picture of how to lead this same discussion for when I actually do it in class. Some questions I was left with was when do I bring in thermal energy? Do I call it dissipated? (I think as I write this, my answer is to not call it dissipated.) I think someone in the group asked about the interaction between the wheels and the ramp. After a bit of the discussion going in a different direction, it was strongly suggested NOT to add friction just yet. After going through this whole thing in student mode, I can see why. I guess my question is– When do we add friction?

Soon after we discussed the sim, we created a Unit 1 Model. I liked the way we had to do it because it forced students to connect things together. Last couple of years, I gave students and end of the unit reflection with different thought bubbles and arrows, hoping that they’d utilize the shapes and turn it into a beautiful piece of understanding art. However, what ended up happening was that they asked for an example and then just copied what I wrote. Doing this on a Jamboard would allow that flow and creativity (and groupwork) to happen.

Unit 2 Begins with Buggy Lab!

For the first three years I taught Physics, I did the prelab so very wrong. I forgot to give the buggy to the students so that they could actually do what I asked them. Every year, a brave soul would ask me if they can get the buggy so that they can take measurements…but I asked them to do the impossible instead. Crossing my fingers that I do it right this year!

The question Melissa posed: Does the car move and how do you know? We, the students, gave a variety of answers that proved how we know the car was moving. Then we went into Breakout Groups and were asked to draw a series of state diagrams of the car moving. Our group was a bit overachieving and drew 9 states. When other groups shared, they drew 4. We then had the discussion of what changed? I’m very grateful that our modeling leaders are such phenomenal people and were brilliant in how they moved our discussion from a state of confusion towards more understand. I took some notes, but I was so engrossed in the stories! I hope Kristy and Kim took better notes than I did. The next part is actually taking data using Pivot. Some of the leading questions that I wrote down because I wanted to make sure I remembered it and used it in my class:

  1. How did you come up with these numbers?
  2. What do think tick 14 will be? (Predict after the predictions)
  3. How do you get the next position based on the one before it?

ALL BRILLIANT because then it lead us into Pyret. We didn’t even really talk about math formulae or the linear equation (yet…). We looked at it as “last position plus 16” or “last position minus 8”. This is where I wrote down multiple times: Review Pyret skills. In our side text conversation, we were slightly freaking out about how much information will the students retain? How much time has elapsed since the would have last coded in Pyret? I guess this means that they will need to practice Pyret skills a little bit each day! Mental note…build that into our lesson plans.

The super awesome Team Pixar ended our discussion while filling out the Design Recipe. We initially had written down position 1 & 2’s values plus 16. Then Elliot brought up a point that if someone decided that the buggy’s position was at 1, then our formula would be no good. So then I can’t remember if it was Elliot or Oliver, but they brought up: “For every 1 tick, go up 16 cm” This was important as we normally have the students complete some sort of exercise about rates, ratios, and unit ratios. I feel like we had to build up their vocabulary so that the students would be able to say: For every 1 tick, …

Functions and More State Diagrams

We started today with discussing functions. We defined it and then went onto write functions in Pyret. This part, I enjoyed very much because I found it easy to do. I liked that we had to write down our thoughts and the template before typing it into Pyret. There were some questions about spacing, but I think that’ll be over after the first few moments of coding. We moved into coding state diagrams. It was very exciting to see that our code worked after working on it together in small groups.

Back to Stations…

We went back to discuss our stations. I think my group had the ball drop. We went into Jamboards to show the initial and final states, and everything in between. At least, that’s how I understood the instructions. When we went into bigger small groups, I realized that I understood it wrong. Most groups wrote the conditions that everything happened (i.e., on table, moving forward, pressed together, fully wound, etc.). Then we were asked to group them together based on…well it was up to us. One group grouped them based on position, direction, binary, and miscellaneous. Our group grouped them into position, movement, direction, shape, etc.

Then….magic happened here.

I was so engrossed in Jess’s storytelling that I was in it for the ride and the pure enjoyment of being a Physics student. Next thing I know, my side convo chat with my colleagues was going OFF. We had no idea how we arrived where we arrived. The way that conversation and discussion moved us into transfer and arrangements was so brilliant. I felt like I had an implicitly better understanding of energies, but then I’m going to need a replay of that so I can do it as a teacher.

Day 2- Computational Modeling Physics First (CMPF)

We started today off with reviewing our discussion from yesterday. First, we made WB of how a flipbook would look like if we drew the motion. I guess it’s more like a comic strip than a flipbook, but you get the point. Our group got to examine what mass on a spring looked like. We were given instructions to have initial and final states, then it was up to us what we were supposed to draw in between. Our group decided to annotate our drawings with arrows and captions in case nobody knew what was going on.

During the WB discussion, it was brought up that there was an arrow drawn in Box H. Our group signified that the arrows determined the direction of the object’s motion since you wouldn’t be able to tell from one frame. However, the arrow in Box H was a bit confusing since we also stated that the final state is when the block returned to the highest point. I liked the discussion that followed and we were able to change our model.

In the next round, we wrote down what objects were drawn. It was a little strange at first since we already drew and labeled our drawings, but the reason for it made sense after we had our discussion. Drawing the objects and saying WHY we drew those objects took us into defining SYSTEM. After the class got into multiple debates and post-it wars, we ended up with the definition: collection of parts/objects that we suspect to cause/help a “change in moment of time”. Yes, we used the words state and motion for a while, but we kept editing the definition as a class. I have to remember to do this with the 9th graders when I actually teach this.

THEN- we went on to discuss and define state vs. condition. I’m not 100% sure where we left off with this because I feel like we were stuck on non-important parts. I think at this point, I got lost in my own head and started thinking about snacks and what I wanted for lunch. It’s a good thing that we finally had our 10 minute break and the discussion didn’t go on much longer. I still have some questions about state vs. condition, but I don’t even know what those questions are yet.

SWITCH GEARS

We switched gears at this point and Melissa had us draw on paper. First she said that we should draw a circle. Then we started asking questions to get more clarity on this circle that she wanted us to draw. I can totally see how this is going to go down in the classroom. Eventually, when my brain got out of student mode, I figured out why we were doing this.

After determining what was important to know in order to draw the shape that was in Melissa’s head, we went into what the computer needs to know. We use Pyret as our programming language, which has a lot of similarities to Python with the perk that it’s pretty easy to use. I think I need to figure out a way to introduce these terms to the 9th graders: library, run, function, define, call, hashtag/comment, argument. We ran into these words, but didn’t really stop to talk about them. I suspect that since most of us are teachers and have had programming experience, we can gloss over them. I can see some students getting stuck and feeling intimidated with the words. Mostly, these are words that are used in the English language but in different ways. For example, argument in programming is not going to be the same argument students encounter on the playground. I’m sure I can utilize some of the #MERIT18 skills I learned to get those vocabulary words in.

The rest of the time, we spent playing around with the different functions. We were given a list of functions and we got to discuss some “I wonder what would happen if…” with each other. For this part, we were encouraged to do some pair-programming with one person doing the typing into Pyret and the other person working as the brain. This is a strategy I used in AP CSP, and I will definitely be using this in CMPF. I enjoyed my group and liked that no one was trying to take over (unless it was me…I might have been the one trying to take over). Our homework assignment was to draw flags using the functions that we played with in class. I’ve included a screenshot of my program after I ran it. I would include my code, but I really want students to figure out that part when we get there.

Obviously I had some issues drawing the sun for the Philippine flag.