Student Teaching Week 1

I apologize for the lack of blogging. That’s all about to change since I’ve started student teaching and my last semester of graduate school!

For my first week of high school student teaching (actually, only two days), I observed the Physics students’ midterm presentations. They were given the assignment to pick a topic related to what they studied first semester and create a presentation in small groups that covered conceptual questions, mathematical questions, historical and content background, and real world applications relating to their topic. The presentations I sat in on covered the following topics:

  • Hang Gliding (including lift and drag)
  • Momentum (with a video of a Rube Goldberg contraption)
  • Mechanical Energy & Windmills
  • Physics of Baseball
  • Physics of Volleyball
  • Physics of Football and the Work Involved
  • Physics of Soccer
  • Newton’s Laws & Roller Coasters
  • Energy & Momentum of Ninjas (they discussed impulse and how more or less force and time change the effectiveness of martial arts and the elastic potential energy in the Yumi – a ninja’s crossbow-like weapon)
  • Physics of Falling People (including scenes from Get Smart to show the effect of changing surface areas)
  • Catapults (a look at midievil and modern catapults)
  • Physics of Superheros (this was great! They associated the coefficient of friction with Spiderman’s spiderhairs for climbing and discussed tension on a string with Batman’s Bat-A-Rang)

It was really fun to get to know students through their presentations and has provided a natural way for me to start asking them questions and assume a role within the classroom. They gave me lots of ideas for new lesson plans, which is handy since I’m required to write one a week for my student teaching seminar.

There was one really funny moment when I asked one of the roller coaster presentations a question at the end. I asked them if they thought it was possible to construct a roller coaster in an infinite loop where the coaster could go around an infinite number of times, providing it started at a place where the potential energy was greatest. I quickly realized my cooperating teacher had forgotten to introduce me when a student (not even one presenting) starting to explain Physics to me – he told me what potential and kinetic energies was and illustrated it with a bouncing ball, describing each successive bounce of the ball as “losing” potential energy. Therefore, he reasoned, the roller coaster couldn’t go infinitely because energy cannot be created. I tried so hard not to giggle and just smiled and nodded. I’m still laughing since he was so excited to teach that random lady in the corner Physics. I’ll be interested in seeing all their faces when the new semester starts and they realized I’m their student teacher :)

I’m wondering how many of you have had students who were convinced they have more content knowledge than you. How do you handle it?


One response to this post.

  1. Ha, my 6th graders think they know more than me. I admit my mistakes when I need to, and when it’s necessary, I just tell them they’re being rude and I drop it. No bright ideas on that topic. Glad you’ve had a good start to student teaching :-)


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