Introduction to Electrostatics, Day 1

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Students will be able to read and answer questions about basic electrostatics including charges of objects, attraction and repulsion, conservation of charge and conductors vs. insulators.

Big Idea

Students complete a reading activity to learn and teach each other about electrostatics.

First Look at Electrostatics Learning Targets

10 minutes

The goal of this lesson is for students to be exposed to the fundamental concepts of electrostatics and start working towards understanding and applying those concepts. At this point in the year, students have had to rely on each other so much for different aspects of the class that I feel they are ready to rely on each other to learn some basic concepts. Students use their skills of obtaining information from the text and using it to communicate the main ideas to other students in the class (SP8). 

Since it is the first day of the new unit, I ask students to start by reading through the Unit 7 Electrostatics Learning Target Sheet and rating themselves on each target on a scale of 1-4. I preface this activity by telling them the early targets are ones they may have already learned in chemistry or in middle school so to really rank themselves accordingly. After about 5 minutes of individual self-reflection, I talk through the last unit by using the Unit 7 Electrostatics Calendar to give them an idea of how the unit proceeds and how we'll wrap up the semester. Students keep the target sheet so they can look back on it as we work on the targets during the unit.

Chapter 32 Jigsaw: Expert Groups

30 minutes

After the students preview the learning targets, I tell them that the Electric Charge Jigsaw activity is the focus of today's lesson to learn about some concepts of electrostatics. To complete this activity, students start in groups of 3, their home groups. To get into their home groups, I use the Disney Grouping Cards which puts them into groups of 3 based on characters from Disney movies. I use these grouping cards to get students in random home groups.

After they get into their home groups, I ask one member to get the expert papers that each are printed on different colored pages from the front table, pages 1-3 from the Electric Charge Jigsaw (download to view all pages). When the groups get the 3 colored papers, I tell them that the oldest person in their group will be in Expert Group A (blue), the youngest will be in Expert Group B (purple) and the middle person will be in Expert Group C (green). When each student has a paper, I tell students to say goodbye to their home groups until they complete their worksheets and become experts. 

To get in their expert groups, I ask them to find a group of 3-4 people to work with to complete the reading followed by the questions. I ask that there are two chromebooks for each group so that they are sharing the online Conceptual Physics textbook with a partner and working together. I give the groups about 25 minutes to read and then to answer the questions. There are usually two groups for each color page so I tell them that if they get stuck as a group to send someone to the other group to see if they were able figure out that particular question. If students still cannot find the answers, they can ask me for help. 

Chapter 32 Jigsaw: Home Groups

25 minutes

After students finish their work in their expert worksheets, I pass out the home group worksheet (Electric Charge Jigsaw) for them to work on as a group. As you can see in the picture below, I assign the questions for each person to complete to make sure that they are not writing for the questions that they are experts on. The purpose of the home group worksheet is for students to learn from the other members of their group about the topics of electrostatics. So by assigning each group member questions, I am able to assign questions that they were not in charge of so they have to write down answers they did not read about. This forces students to share what they learned with the rest of their group.

I give students about 20 minutes to complete this worksheet and it ends up like this Electrostatics jigsaw student work. Students work together really well on this activity partly because there is so much accountability. I collect all of the worksheets at the end of the class to glance over and see how students did in completing the worksheets. I walk around to make sure students are working at a good pace and I tell them when about half the time is up so they know they should be on the back side of the worksheet. 

3-2-1 Electrostatics Home Group Exit Slip

5 minutes

To end class, I have students work as a group to complete a 3-2-1 exit slip. I do this to see what they learned as a group throughout the jigsaw activity. Since there are 3 group members, I have each group member write for one of the 3 questions so everyone works on the exit question. The 3-2-1 exit slip questions are:

3- What are the 3 parts of atom? Their charges? Their locations?

2- What are two things that you learned about electrostatics?

1- What is one question that you have about electrostatics?

I like using the 3-2-1 at the end of this lesson because it helps me to see what the students learned together as a group. Even though this is not an individual assessment I can see what the overall understanding of the class is.