Reflection: Station Rotation Aren't You Just a Ray of Negativity? - Section 3: Playing With Charges


Engaging this content via stations is a deliberate choice on my part.  We do not have time to teach them the full physics of electromagnetic forces, but it's crucial to our explanations and models of the atom to have a cursory understanding of these forces.  By utilizing stations, learners get a quick exposure to many different aspects, while giving me three benefits.

The first benefit is purely selfish: I can put together a single full lab set, and let the learners rotate through rather than put together seven full sets and have them stationary.  This is a benefit in cost of equipment but even more so in terms of time.  As I will change classrooms at least once in the day, it is far easier to move one tub and re-distribute to the lab tables than to move seven tubs.  I can set up this whole lab during the time of the Paula Abdul video in the hook.

The second benefit is I can determine entry points.  By choosing which table of learners will begin at which station, I have the control and can take learners who are a little more advanced to start them at the videos, where they might struggle with the understanding, but will wait to engage the other stations without panicking.  My most easily frustrated learners will start at station 1 or 2 so the conceptual lab progression is most linear for them.

The third benefit is time management.  Many of my learners will work well in lab or on computer assignments for a short time, but then their attention wanders.  By rotating the students and timing them, there is a concerted effort to complete each station on time and get the observations done at a minimum.

  Station Rotation: Stations
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Aren't You Just a Ray of Negativity?

Unit 1: Atomic Structure
Lesson 4 of 10

Objective: SWBAT describe the experiments that led to the discovery of the electron, with particular focus on how like charges interact.

Big Idea: Thomson's cathode ray experiments led to an early model of the atom based on oppositely charged parts.

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jj thomson
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