Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding Newton's First Law - Section 3: An Inertia Activity


Some of my students have a problem with "word dumping," meaning they say too much and tend to contradict themselves. This student is notorious for writing too much, and I've been working with her since the start of the year to remember that less can be more when it comes to writing. While the AP Physics 1 exam does emphasize justifying answers and having a strong conceptual understanding of material, it also emphasizes that points will not be awarded if there is false information or inaccurate assumptions. 

Looking at the answer to the second question on the front page of the lab, it is rather obvious that the student needs to gain clarity in her writing. Instead of saying "the penny has more mass, which translates to inertia," she could say "the inertia of the penny." Both phrases have the same meaning, yet one is much more concise than the other. I'll continue to work with this student throughout the year by writing notes to her on homework and labs and having informal conversations about small adjustments she can make.

  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Saying Too Much
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Newton's First Law

Unit 3: Newton's Laws
Lesson 4 of 16

Objective: Students will be able to define and apply Newton's First Law.

Big Idea: Students engage in a friendly competition that demonstrates inertia.

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