Thursday, October 10, 2013

Find the Big Question. Answer with Relevancy and Tech Integration

It's the end of our velocity and acceleration unit.  We've used formulas, graphs, models, motion detectors and diagrams to help us with our problem solving skills.  Now, it is time to apply.  The big question for this unit:  "How well is life mimicked in video or cartoons?  Use your kinematics knowledge for analysis of three situations.

Not all kids approached this the same way.  Some kids compared an actual video to a cartoon.  Others compared old-style animation to computer animation.  Still others made stop motion movies.   I required them to take screen shots of their evidence and blog their answers. To do the comparison, they needed to use a video converter and/or upload their videos for analysis with Vernier Logger Pro.  Then they write a final reflection, which I look through to find claim, evidence, and reasoning.

Blog 1:

Blog 2:

Blog 3:

Blog 4:

Blog 5:

Blog 6:

Blog 7:

Blog 8:

photo credit: Ryan Bretag via photopin cc


1.  This is higher order thinking.  Thank you, Google Apps, for giving me a suite of tools like Drive, Blogger, and You Tube.  I'm sure things could be done in other ways, but this is the set of apps my kids work with.  Note that they are TOOLS, not the project itself.  That's the point of tech integration.

2.  Access to real data is cheap and easy. Thank you, Vernier, for the Logger Pro software, which has a building -wide license for $250.  I purchased it about 11 years ago, and have used it with more than 1000 students. Each kid in school can download it for use on their own machine.  That's about a quarter for an incredible data analysis machine.

3. STEMx and tech integration.  My students learn about codecs, conversion, scaling, and media formats, and they get to analyze motion and report results. This is real work, solving real problems.  It's the basis of STEMx.  How cool is that?!

3.  Individualization.  Some kids videotaped the screens of their computers, and imported that file to the computer.  Others used a screencast tool.  Still others downloaded the youtube file, and then converted a .flv to .avi or .mov file. I had stop motion movies created with Windows Movie Maker AND with smartphone apps. This ability to manipulate digital data is part of the culture of empowerment I try to create in my classroom.

4. Summative assessment.  Through the reflection on the blog, the data analysis, and the individual reflection and one-on-one discussions I have with each student during this process, I can tell how well students understand the derivative of a d-t graph, the meaning of velocity vs. acceleration, and the patterns that are recognizable in the physics we are studying. I have a rubric that lets me see where they are at. In short, this assessment is rooted in the Cross-Cutting Standards of the National Science Framework.  It's meaningful and worthy of the world, or they don't get it.  But I know, in the conversations, if they get it.

5. Real world transformation.   There is no ONE way to do is student-centered.  There is just a task, and a process. Problem-solving is evidenced.  Trust in my students' abilities is a critical process.

Think differently.  Transform your teaching.  Engage kids. Treat them as capable. Help your students solve big questions.  That is what kids need for the future.


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