Monday, September 12, 2005


The Modeling program at Arizona State University is ot of funds, and its future is uncertain. But the influence of the program continues.

I was fortunate enough to attend the program in 2004. Due to budget constraints, I wasn't able to go this year. I've been lucky enough to have landed a job this year, teaching Physical Science, and I'm finally putting the modeling concepts into practice.

One major difference is that I plan more time at the back end of a lab. It takes time to de-brief the students about their findings. I'm also answering questions with "what do you think?" as a matter of course. It can be infuriating for the student, at first. They're used to getting a quick, decisive answer from their teachers. But, in time, they learn to stop leaning on the teacher for questions they could jolly well answer themselves, with a little thought.

I also spend more time designing my lessons. For example, today I was planning to move right into acceleration. But, on reflection, I decided to re-visit constant velocity, and then move into increasing velocity with the same equipment.

I'm a little hampered by an embarassing lack of stopwatches. For some reason, all of ours are kaput - apparently, since the last time someone used them, they've run out of battery power. I passed the info to my department head, and she's ordering the MyChrono timers. I've used them before, and they're sturdy and relatively cheap.

My kids may have to use the TI-83, with a LabPro and motion detector. I'll have to play around with the equipment tomorrow, to make sure I have all the parts powered.

I've been using the Ranking Tasks lately. It makes a good review of the concepts, and is a quick check on understanding. It also takes almost no time to grade, which I VERY much like.