Writing About Physics
Posted March 25, 2012on:
When we did the egg drop challenge a couple of weeks ago, I asked the students to write about their design and the concepts involved in safely landing the egg in their structure.
For them, they had fun and were rewarded for their hard work with no lab report, just a dialog of what they built, why they built it, and the concepts we’ve been studying. I wanted them to talk about forces, gravity, momentum, impulse, collisions, and any other concept we’ve studied in order to explain the physics behind the effort to save the egg.
I’m thinking the egg got off easy. I had to read phrases like “depending upon how fast you dropped the egg,” and “the impact of momentum, ” and best (worst) or all, “the egg has many things to be concerned about it not to break”
Other than labs, I haven’t given a writing assignment before and I now think it needs to be a regular event. Clearly the students can not talk about the concepts. Although we spend weeks problem solving, discussing, and working in the lab, they can’t put the concept into an intelligent sentence. How did this happen? I feel like I’ve failed.