Quiz on Newton's Laws

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Students demonstrate their knowledge of Newton's Laws of motion with this summative assessment.

Big Idea

Summative assessments are a tool to keep students accountable for learning and to inform the teacher of students' understanding.

Quiz Procedure

5 minutes

For today's quiz, students apply CCSS Math Practice 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, NGSS Science Practice 5 Using mathematics and computational thinking all in the context of NGSS Performance Standard HS-PS2-1, the mathematical relationship between the net force acting on an object and its acceleration.

For the first 5-10 minutes of class, I give students an opportunity to ask any questions that they might have. This time is theirs and they can ask about any of the content covered in the previous several lessons. Near the end of this opening Q&A time, students are to clear their desks. This is a closed note test and students do not have any note sheets or cheat sheets. There are only a few equations they need to have memorized for this quiz, so a note sheet is not needed.

My classroom has students seated at tables in groups of four. Because of this, everyone is seated next to someone and across from someone else. So that students to not read the answers off of someone else's quiz, I sometimes create different versions of the quiz or test and alternate them between students. However, for this assessment there is only one version so the students put up the manila folder barriers they have at their desks to block their line of site of other student's quizzes.

Free Response Quiz Questions

20 minutes

The free response problems for the Newton's Laws Quiz include drawing Free Body Diagram (FBDs), reading and analyzing a motion graph for a specific situation and two word problems. For the work problems, I require the students to draw a FBD and to show their work. I explicitly write on the quiz that "VFW is required for full credit". VFW stands for 

  • Variables: students must list the variables that are given and for which they must sovle.
  • Formulas: students must write the formula without the numbers.
  • Work: students show their work and mathematical manipulations.

Using VFW has been consistently enforced all year so students are comfortable with this.
When we later review the quiz as a class, I had modeled the use of VFW in my Newton's Laws Quiz Solutions.

These problems are representative of the material covered in the previous several lessons and are an important part of any physics student's education. I consider it to be a mistake to limit assessments to only mathematical applications, as quantitative-style assessments favor a small proportion of students, namely those with strong mathematical and logical abilities. Multiple representations of Newton's Laws of Motion are represented in this assessment. I do that so that there are multiple ways for students to demonstrate their understanding.

Multiple Choice Via Socrative

20 minutes

For part of the quiz, I give students 20 multiple choice problems. Multiple choice questions are a good way to determine student's understanding because they are easy to correct and I can ask a lot of questions. This allows me to collect data on specific content areas where there could be persistent student misconceptions or misunderstandings. 

For this quiz, I choose to use Socrative (SOC #: 13958162) as a way to quiz students so that at the end of the quiz I can download a report that shows how all students scored on individual questions. Students can use their smart phones to take the multiple-choice part of this quiz, or a laptop if they don't have a smartphone. To reduce the occurrence of cheating, which is made easier with the use of their smart phones, I select a feature on Socrative where the questions AND the answers are scrambled for each student. This way, each student receives a unique quiz. 

When it is time to review the quiz Socrative has a nice feature that allows me to download individual student quiz results. I print those out and hand them back to the students for their review.