Reflection: Performance Tasks Virtual Exploration of Inclined Plane Forces, Day 2 - Section 2: Finishing Forces on a Ramp Virtual Exploration


Even after two days of effort with this simulation, I have to admit that it didn't quite pan out as I had hoped. Though more teams were successful on this second day than the first, there were still many struggles. The desired impact - students uncovering valuable relationships through data analysis - was achieved in just a small number of cases. Most teams needed to be told the answers (that the parallel force depended upon the sine of the ramp angle and the normal force depended upon the cosine of that angle) in order to move forward. Once told, teams were able to test the "predictions" and see that the formulas did, indeed, work well. Here are some thoughts about student work:

On a positive note, though students could not induce the rules, they were able to apply them in the predictive phase of the investigation, and the experience of altering the angles and tracking the resulting accelerations made the use of the formulas a bit less mysterious. All in all, I would try this simulation again, though it was probably a mistake to initiate this activity on a day that I was not present in the classroom.

  Student Successes and Struggles
  Performance Tasks: Student Successes and Struggles
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Virtual Exploration of Inclined Plane Forces, Day 2

Unit 6: Forces and Motion
Lesson 8 of 11

Objective: Students will return to a virtual lab investigation, inducing formulas for normal and parallel forces on an inclined plane, after reconsidering some of the strategies and critical choices that must be made.

Big Idea: To be successful in our quest to induce rules about forces on an inclined plane, we review the process, clarify expectations, and provide additional time.

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Science, Newton's Second Law, Forces and Newton's Laws, Motion, acceleration, vector, weight, Forces, free body diagrams
  60 minutes
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