Monday, May 5, 2014

A Smashing Good Graph Lesson

The Standards
Students at Pike began the study of physics concepts in Scott Suhr's 6th Grade Pre-AP Science class by learning to calculate speed (6.8C). They built on this foundation knowledge when they explored measuring and graphing changes in motion (6.8D).

The Foundation
Students started by exploring graphing motion. They built Distance/Time graphs from scratch and through the LoggerPro motion detector. This helped develop a common vocabulary that facilitated a better understanding of key components in a motion graph. With the traditional approach to graphing and the LoggerPro technology a deeper knowledge was built. As a result the students were able to synthesize the understanding to evaluate the Distance/Time graphs.

The Student Driven Process
Next, students were challenged to interpret graphs of motion…for example "What does the slope of the plot on a Distance/Time graph show about an object motion?" This is where using the LoggerPro motion detectors enhanced student comprehension. By using the LoggerPro motion detector program, students got real time, instantaneous feedback supporting their tactile connection between the speed of their motion and the slope of the plot forming on a Distance/Time graph.  

Following this, students were given the task to prepare a presentation documenting their analysis of the LoggerPro generated Distance/Time graphs. Presentations were done using a combination of LoggerPro generated graphs, Screencasto-matic to share their analysis, and Google Presentations to allow for collaboration. The end result were presentations that not only shared their analysis and evaluation of the graphs, but taught 5th graders about the relationship of speed to time and distance.

Example of Product
Click image to go to Presentation
Click on image to go to presentation by Danny G.
Cole B., Sylvanna W., and Ryan J.

Next Steps
Students continue to use skills built with Google Presentations in a variety of science inquiry opportunities and PBL events.  The greatest benefit has been the ability for students to import multiple technology generated applications into presentations. Google presentations was the platform that made this collaborative presentation  a possibility.

Written in collaboration with Scott Suhr, 6th Grade Science, Gene Pike Middle School

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