Day 23- Test and Forces

Last year, my colleage, Mrs. Freudenberg, did an activity with the students using materials and ideas from Kelly O’Shea (@kellyoshea)and Brian Frank (@brianwfrank). Unfortunately, I had a family emergency to take care of, so I don’t even have the memory of doing this activity. With it being my first time, there were a bunch of questions that came up, and I didn’t really know what to do with the questions. Then I remembered–I am trained in Modeling Instruction…utilize those skills!

I just started asking the questions back to the students that asked them, like: What interaction is this, Ms. M? My response: What do you think the interaction is? Since this is still the beginning of the unit, we’re not telling them anything just yet except maybe to give them some vocabulary of what interactions could be possible and to define what an interaction is. For the purpose of this assignment, we said that interactions are contact interactions.

Block 4: They were so worried about getting the right answer! Ms. M, the interaction for this station is…, right? They got really upset when I wouldn’t tell them. At the end of the period, when we were wrapping up, they were still pretty upset to find out that there was more than one answer. I’m going to need to figure out how to create a community that is okay with unknown answers. (maybe it should start with me)

Block 5: Block 5 had a different challenge. They were stuck on certain details. For example, one group got stuck on calling the hanging object a weight or mass. Then they couldn’t move on until they knew how much the “object” weighed. How to write evidence. What do you mean where the interaction is? We defined it as “touching,” but there seemed to be some difficulty understanding that touching between two objects is just between those two objects

Block 6: They were really tired after their test, and the room was hot. The same issues from Block 4 & 5 came up. This group seems to be really on top of things, and so they were mostly able to get through this activity without needing every single question answered. They discussed amongst themselves mostly.

Object suspended by two strings.


Object suspended by two rubber bands.
Object on a ramp supported on two sides by foam.


Buggy spinning tires on a brush.
Object being pushed across a brush.


Fan cart pressing on a hoop spring.


It was so fascinating. Especially the fan cart pressing on a hoop spring. Students chose the two objects to be the fan cart and hoop spring. The place of interaction of the two objects is on the track. They couldn’t see that they were introducing a third object into their two-object system. Which reminds me, I should make myself a mini answer key to remind myself what I want students to get out of it.

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