Fall 2009: Day 1

Navigation Links

Fall 2009-Day 2

Day 1 Topics

Daily Schedule
Sharing Science Experiences
Light Exploration

Peer Instructor Reflection

Fall 2009: Day 1
Written by: Katie Kizer

Today was the first day of Physics 111 for Fall '09. I took this class last Spring term as a student and enjoyed it very much. I learned so much about linking science and literacy learning together. My philosophy about learning and teaching changed dramatically over the course of the term. I am excited to see how my understandings will broaden throughout this term being a peer instructor! We started off the class by introducing the course staff and explaining what Physics 111 is all about. We also explained that this course is experimental and that we are funded by a grant. Because of this, we video record the entire class and what goes on during each day. By documenting how we teach students, how the students react, and what learning occurs, we are able to better understand how to teach students and how to improve the course. The students had to sign consent forms to allow us to use content with them on it for future reference. I think this intimidated them a little, but they will get used to it.

The next thing we did was talk in small groups about the science experiences they have had. In groups of two, they drew colorful pictures of their science memories. I think they had fun reminiscing about exciting science experiences. Each group got to introduce themselves and present/share their positive physics learning experiences with the rest of the class. Collectively, we wrote down what aspects fostered these learning experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. In big letters, students wrote “group work, understandable, discussion, asking questions, fun, entertaining, interactive, exciting, surprising, discussion, choice, visual, field trips, exploration, and suspense.” I think that another very important aspect that fosters learning is reflection. When these aspects are incorporated into students’ curriculum, they are more interested and learn more.

After that, it was time to explore light and shadows! Emily set up a basketball in the middle of the room and turned on one lamp light bulb at the side of the room. All other lights were off. Individually, students answered a diagnostic question, “How could they see the ball?” They drew a picture and tried to explain in words this phenomenon. At each table, two students got to explore hands-on how light and shadows work. They got to play around with a light source, an object, and a board covered with white paper. Students were told to jot down what they observed. In pairs, they used white boards to write a question, a method for testing it, and what they found. Each group had similar findings about what happened when you moved the object closer or further away from the light source. I thought this was a neat way to approach this topic because last year it seemed more open ended. This time, students got to play around for a bit, and then choose a specific question to explore.

The students finished off the last part of class by reflecting in their science journals about what they already knew, what they had learned, and what they were still curious about. This has always been my favorite part of class because we get to reflect on the learning processes that are happening to us every day! When we went around the room sharing, students had some very neat responses. They liked…the freedom to explore, working with partners and being able to bounce ideas off of each other, bringing their own ideas into the learning process and coming out of their comfort zones, that class was fun and interesting, drawing and writing as a tool to brainstorm what they already know, using emotions to foster learning, and having practical applications to connect what they are learning with their daily experiences. I can already tell this is going to be a great term. The students seem just as excited about this method of teaching/learning as the instructors!

Personal Tools