Projectile Motion Physics: Gallery Walk

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Objective

Students will create a projectile motion museum exhibit and assess their peers' work using a common rubric during a gallery walk.

Big Idea

Creating gallery exhibits helps students to take ownership over their learning outcomes in physics class.

Overview

The goal of this lesson is to help students learn that models can be extended to solve more complex problems.  This lesson is aligned to the HS-PS2-1 standard because students demonstrate an understanding of projectile motion, where projectiles accelerate due the force of gravity. This lesson is aligned to the W.11-12.9 standard because students conduct research using multiple credible sources to create museum style exhibits that will be displayed as a gallery for the upper school (11th and 12th grade classes) to assess.  

This lesson follows a series of lessons where students:

  • define a projectile as an object moving solely under the influence of gravity
  • make connections between trigonometric identities and the components of a projectile's velocity
  • investigate the independent vertical and horizontal motions of a projectile
  • predict the parabolic trajectory of a projectile 
  • extend Galileo's equations of motion to create models for the maximum height, time of flight and range of a projectile
  • compare two mathematical models for a projectile's range
  • create exhibit components to communicate how to solve projectile motion problems using Angry Birds as a model

This lesson is shorter than most other lessons in this series because it occurs during a half-day session during a week where upper school science, math and humanities teacher take turns hosting a gallery during their blocks. 

Student Gallery Walk

45 minutes

During the first 5 minutes of this section of the lesson, students create a gallery by taking our lab tables to the hallway and setting up their exhibits. Students have already created exhibit components in this lesson

Each gallery exhibit has:

  • an overview of each exhibit component
  • an artifact
  • a multimedia presentation
  • a tri-fold poster

The remainder of the time is devoted to a gallery walk. Students have rubrics for each exhibit and they assess their peer's work. Exhibit overviews have clear instructions for students to interact with each piece within the gallery. Students spend 10 minutes observing a different exhibit according to this Rubric which they return to me at the end of the lesson.

Students then return to their own exhibits and teachers send students from the upper school (11th and 12th grade)to assess physics exhibits on projectile motion. Students spend the next 20 minutes answering their peers' questions.

Closure

10 minutes

The goal of the closure is to have students reflect on the information that their peers communicated using their gallery exhibit. I want students to identify connections that can help them extend their current level of understanding of a particular concept in physics. 

To wrap up, I ask students give both warm and cool feedback on one of the exhibits they assessed within the gallery walk portion of the lesson.  Some of the warm feedback that students receive includes, "Clear description of how Angry Birds relate to projectile motion." and "Easy to follow video presentation." Some of the cool feedback that students receive includes, "How do you find range if the angle is not given?" and "What happens if you have the blue bird instead of the red bird?" This type of closure activity asks students to highlight connections between their previous understanding and key ideas communicated by their peers' projects within the class exhibit and also works to make student thinking visible regarding the underlying reasons behind their understanding.