Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Virtual Exploration of Forces on an Inclined Plane - Section 4: Inclined Plane Exploration


Unfortunately, this lesson was a minor disaster! Several factors may have contributed to the difficulties students encountered, including:

1) Timing - This late in the year, my senior students are only so motivated, particularly if there's any hint of adversity! 

2) Inherent difficulty of task - The requested outcome (inducing a formula from data) can be done by my students, but perhaps not with non-linear functions.

3) Inherent difficulty of simulation - I recognized one flaw in the simulation (the timer seemed to be incorrect) and there were other aspects of the simulation that my students found clumsy or cumbersome.

All in all, this was an ambitious task but perhaps not properly scaffolded by me. At the end of this class (and the next), I needed to re-evaluate how I was going to assess the work. I decided not to assess the higher-order thinking skills I had first proposed (effective communication and complex thinking skills) and, instead, focused on a "habit or work" (in our parlance, "responsible citizenship") grade for being diligent and staying focused over the two-day investigation.

In the following video, I look at some student work. There were some limited successes and a variety of struggles.

  The Aftermath
  Adjustments to Practice: The Aftermath
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Virtual Exploration of Forces on an Inclined Plane

Unit 6: Forces and Motion
Lesson 7 of 11

Objective: Students will collect data, propose definitions, and test their proposals about forces on object on an inclined plane.

Big Idea: After an examination of forces on a plane, we recognize that our definition of the normal force needs to be broadened. Students try to induce a definition by analyzing data from a simulation.

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