Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Angry Bird Physics: An Alternative Equation for Range - Section 1: Overview


As I look back at this lesson, I acquired a lot of information about my students' ability to extend a mathematical model to reduce the number processing steps in a solution. I walked around the room listening to all the groups discuss the derivation. Within this lesson, students determine apply both models to the same inputs and determine the percentage error between their calculated values and the accepted value for the range of a projectile using a simulation tool. 

One table talks about how the data is easy to calculate with the simpler equation for Range, but there is a larger amount of calculations and approximations using the simpler equation. As I pass another table, I notice students struggling to take screenshots on their Chromebooks, so I model how to use Ctrl + Alt + ? to view the shortcut options for taking a screenshot. 

Another table plans how to compare the two models for the range of a projectile using the percent error.  I ask this group how they plan to test the range values they calculated using both mathematical models. These students answer, "Based on their ability to obtain a splash-screen green score in the simulation."  So I ask them to show me the accepted value that they are comparing their data table results to and although I move to another group I am still tuned into that discussion. They go on to discuss how to use their calculators to find the percentage error for each model. 

I like that students are reasoning abstractly and quantitatively (MP2) by listening and giving each other feedback (MP3).While reflecting on this part of my lesson, I realize how important allowing students to choose their own groups during this short period of time was for all of us and our learning.  I notice all students engage in the activity and actively discuss a game plan for comparing the two types of mathematical models of the range of a projectile. I believe that students who help to design their learning outcomes and are more engaged in their learning will show larger growth over the course of their physics instruction.

  Considering Alternative Expressions
  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Considering Alternative Expressions
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Angry Bird Physics: An Alternative Equation for Range

Unit 3: Projectile Motion
Lesson 4 of 16

Objective: Students will utilize their understanding of trigonometry and simulations to investigate the accuracy of an alternative math model for range.

Big Idea: The horizontal range of a projectile depends its initial velocity and launch angle.

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Science, Physical Science, velocity (Physics), physics, range, Projectile Motion
  75 minutes
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