Search This Blog

Monday, September 13, 2010

A question for my workshop mates.. and leaders!

I have come to realize that the workshop was too short. While I think it did a good job of covering the main topics for the mechanics unit, there are many things that we didn't talk about much that now I am struggling with. Significant figures, estimation, ratios, etc. How do those things get worked into a modeling classroom? Is it all just brought up during whiteboard discussions? Many times during the class Laura or Don would tell us, "Well we already would have talked about 'x' previously and there is a basic understanding of the concepts so then I would do this lab." And now I am finding that all of these little things are now becoming larger issues as I try to figure out how to work these topics into discussion and still give them the importance they deserve.

What have you guys tried?


  1. As for Sig Figs. I haven't really worried about them in years. My students have all had Chemistry and the chem teachers beat on them like sigfigs is a club. Typically I say something like, "Use an appropriate number of digits." When they ask what that means then I reference sigfigs. I only really get picky when they try to give me fractions as answers or give me 10 digits.

    I'm not sure what you mean about estimation.

    As for ratios... Didn't we talk about ratios when we were doing slope?

  2. I'm finding my notes from the course a little lacking, especially from the first few days. Once the structure of what we were doing became apparent I think I had a better idea of what I needed to record.

    Regarding sig figs, I am planning on addressing them as we go along. Like Steve's students, my honors students already have a good grounding in this from their chem class. I will review the concepts of sig figs, precision, and accuracy while we're doing white boards.

    All said...I am feeling the time crunch already. In the class this summer we seemed to have plenty of time and a group of adults who were focused (and familiar with the content). Trying to achive the same level of depth with 8 or 9 groups of high school students in less than an hour is impossible. I'm trying to be more focused and specific about what I'm trying to achive. I am contemplating allowing the students an interim update session after we have reviewed a white board or two. That way we don't have to foucs on the same things on each one and they can utilize their own "reflections" of their work with respect to the discussion.