A. Grace Martin

Author, Student Teacher, Optimist and Promoter of Self-Empowerment


PSII Tues March 24-Wed March 25, 2015

Posted by agracemartin on April 25, 2015 at 11:30 AM

I felt very bad about the class I had with the Science 14s this Tuesday. Simple machines including levers, pulleys, and wheel and axle tools were clearly a boring topic for the Science 14s. Two girls at the back worked together on their assignment, and I am quite happy with them doing so, but their talking interrupted my instruction and distracted the other students. I’m weighing the “hill I would die on,” because I am not willing to pick a fight with a student, especially when I don’t think that it will help them. I am very stressed about trying to make this course engaging for students, and yet I know that I cannot treat my Science 14s the same as I would treat a different group of students the same age. There is a lot of down time because 90 minutes is simply too long for these students to maintain their focus. I have decided that I cannot feel “guilty” about giving my Science 14s free time. It is more valuable for the students to talk and ask me questions at the end of every class. A positive note is that a group of boys wanted to know about the motors and generators at the back of the classroom. I was more than happy to explain the motors to them, and they had fun playing with them.

The 9As are my more well-behaved group who have really “bought in” to my teaching style. I started the lesson with a two-minute quiet relaxation time with a musical audio from calm.com. I will try this again tomorrow but with a guided visualization audio for the two minutes. The 9As did not enjoy the exploratory stations as much as the 9Bs. This is interesting because my Teacher Associate/mentor told me that the 9Bs usually finish more quickly while the 9As like to take more time to play with circuits. I think that it was also a lack of organization with the 9As on my part. I did not send one group to each of the stations and so I did not set them up for as much success as I did with the 9B group. I found that the 9As are more interested in the content, but seemed more confused by it at the same time. I think that it is because they have not had time to do their worksheets yet, and that they will understand more once they have completed their assignment questions.

Wednesday I took the Science 14s to the lab with a lot of materials and asked them to come up with a Rube Goldberg machine or system of pulleys. They set up dominos to knock a ball into a cup, but could not make a very large set of dominos without accidentally knocking them down early. A different group of students used a Newton spring measure to find out that a fixed pulley reduced the amount of force needed to move a mass, but a movable pulley did not. We also spent some time playing with the hydrogen fuel cell car, but unfortunately could not get it to go forward.

The 9As received a presentation about AC and DC motors with videos to reinforce their learning. The 9Bs received the same lesson and then had time for a review game. I am glad that I did not start a new topic because I wanted to make sure that they were prepared for their Friday test. In reflecting about the review game, I think that “gopher get down” could be improved from my group of grade 9s. Some students who knew the answer were frustrated that they could not take a turn demonstrating their knowledge. Others did not feel safe at guessing an answer and getting it wrong. I could have either done team trivia or could have given each team two guesses.

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