Buggy Lab & Simulated Motion

Started Unit 2 with a lot of grief. This year, Unit 1 ended with a lot of…fireworks. The Physics team reworked the Summative that we had created during the Zoom school days. It turned out that it didn’t necessarily work with our 9th graders this year. We’re rethinking the Summative, and instead of a project, they should just go ahead and do a test.

Buggy Lab

We started Buggy Lab pretty strongly this year. Now that I knew what to expect and where the pitfalls in the directions may lie, it was much easier (AND faster) to execute the activity. There were only 1-2 groups this year that calculated for the distanced traveled by the buggy instead of recording the position of the buggy. I believe last year, we had at least 2-3 groups do this in every class. So I’m getting better at making sure the students get the right directions.

The students recorded on receipt tape (that thankfully I purchased some extra rolls). Note to myself, the receipt tape does not need to be thermal paper, but the markers do show up better on that type of paper. I had them save their receipt tapes…just in case, but now I’m realizing we saved the number lines last year because it took us 2-3 classes to figure out the activity.

Simulated Motion

After the Buggy Lab, we jumped into the next-x function. Thank goodness that Mrs. F reworked the Activity worksheets so that it was easier to get the point across. The entire class used the sample data to look at the simulated motion. This year, I had the students whiteboard the evolution of their understanding of the next-x function to get them thinking about their thinking process. During the whiteboard discussion, some misunderstandings came out. For example, students thought that the value equal to delta-t matched the input from their first example. Another misunderstanding was that the delta-x is velocity.

I really appreciated how their change-of-position value progressed to become delta-x which then became (velocity * delta-t). I loved how some of the students got really creative with their interpretation of the next-x journey. But the best of all, the students who participated in the discussion understood how delta-x becomes velocity * delta-t.

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