Considering Momentum


Yesterday I found that I had some extra time in my momentum unit and decided to re-integrate an activity I used to do. Students were given 7 steel ball bearings, 4 magnets, and shown how to make a ‘particle accelerator’.

Quickly, students saw that the ball after the ‘accelerator’ was moving faster than at the start. I then asked them, “is this a violation of the law of conservation of momentum?” most students correctly identified that it was not, and some even able to justify it with a fairly complex understanding of
Forces – but the arena was more interesting.

Without a formal structure, many students felt this was not ‘learning’ – even though they gained a much better grasp of 2-3 concepts covered in our course (and more importantly, how they link). Students wanted to get to their paper and pencil assignment.

As a system, education, specifically in science, needs to stop cheating our students an show them what real learning looks like. Activities such as this give much better comprehension, and more in depth assessment, than pen and paper math questions. This type of learning is used frequently until students reach high school – and here they learn ‘real’ science. We must use curiosity and questioning to push learning further.

Anyone have any other good activities to push my students with?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s