Self-Assessment on Forces

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Students self-assess their preparedness for a quiz on net force, F=ma and friction.

Big Idea

Reflection is a powerful learning tool that helps students learn with intention.


One of the most important things I can do for students is to get them to be self-directed learners. This requires that they spend time thinking about what they know and what they still have questions about. 

This class is a review of the material that has been learned so far and applying it to a variety of problems. Specifically, students reflect on their conceptual and mathematical knowledge of Newton's Laws of Motion and how they are applied to a variety of real-world situations. CCSS applied here are Math Practice 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, Science Practice 5 Using mathematics and computational thinking; these are both in the context of NGSS Performance Standard HS-PS2-1: the mathematical relationship between the net force acting on an object and its acceleration.

Practice Problems on Forces

20 minutes

I tell the students the Socrates quote that "An unreflected life is not worth living." Therefore students spend their time to reflect. They reflect on their own understanding of inertia, net force, free body diagrams, vectors and application of Newton's 2nd Law to math problems.

I hand out the Forces Review Sheet so that students can begin applying what they know. The answers are supplied in boxes at the bottom of each sheet, but I encourage students to complete the problems before they look at the answers. The goal of this sheet is to help students assess their own understanding, what content they know and can apply and what content they need help with. Students are to work independently on this sheet since they use it to self-assess their understanding. If they work with others, then they might complete it not knowing what they know. I also encourage students to have their notebooks and past worksheets out so that they can review their work while they review.

Students self-assess

30 minutes

20 minutes into the period, I hand out the Self-Assessment sheet so that students can rank their own understanding. Using their past work and the review sheet, students rank their own understanding of each topic. Armed with this knowedge, they know where to focus their study efforts for the quiz the next day.

When students finish their self-assessment, they are instructed to study for the quiz. I spend a minute and call on random students to give ideas to the rest of the class for on possible study methods. They supply ideas such as making flash cards, reworking sample problems and reading through their notes.

While students work on their self-assessments and study for the quiz, I call up students one at a time to meet with them. I review their self-assessment and have a conversation about whether I agree with they self-assessment. We then discuss ways they can improve their understanding of the areas where they need help.