Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back to work

Yesterday was the first day of lab with my old and some new kids. This year I took on a younger group as well as the teen group. I spent hours this weekend getting everything together. That was added to the hours I spent months ago picking curricula. And ordering lab equipment.

First I spent an hour with 6 kids, 10 - 14, doing lab activities in Teaching Physics with Toys. I planned to work through the book in order but scrapped that plan Friday when it just seemed illogical to do the first experiment which investigated rotational inertia before doing the second which explored inertia, in general.

They built cars out of K'nex, watched the movement of a marble placed on the car as it resisted a change in its state of motion when a force was applied to the car. I need to remember to take more pictures.

Finally they put a doll on the car and ran it into a wall. Well, except for the creation of foul odors or explosions, not much is more fun than ramming dolls and cars into the wall. Then they simulated seat belts and shoulder belts and rammed the cars a few more times.

Here the doll has been enclosed in a safety cage with wheels to roll down the slide in the playground. One final experiment. An extracurricular activity.

The second hour was spent with 4 teens who were beginning chemistry. We began with the concept of density. I used the TOPS unit #9, Floating and Sinking. Next week I will go over the scientific method, how to formulate a hypothesis, test it and write up the report formally.

I enjoyed getting back in the routine. But two separate labs is a lot of work. At least for now. PRM

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