What is your favorite physics lesson?
I love them all, but if I had to pick just one it would be organic chemistry and balancing equations, especially as it pertains to photosynthesis and the energy of life.
What is your favorite physics demonstration?
Mixtures and substances, because it is so easy to make it hands-on.
What is your favorite physics activity?
Anything that has to do with fire or explosions, such as rocketry (solid state fuel), lighting a match (combustion), or alkali metals and water.
What changes have you made to any of the STC-provided ideas for any of the above, in order to use in your classroom?
I create SMART board presentations using the information in the lessons, create more hands-on activities in the form of labs and incorporate other disciplines and other sciences into the lessons for more cross curricular integration.
What suggestions/improvements would you implement next time you do a specific STC lesson/activity?
It would be great to have pre-made overview PowerPoint presentations with an exploratory activity to engage the students in the very beginning of the lesson.
What is your students’ involvement/engagement like with STC-provided activities?
They really love them, especially the force and friction unit where they get to drag each other across different surfaces to explore friction (they love the units where they are directly involved in the activity or where they get to make something).
What are your students’ favorite physics activities?
They participate in organized team sport such as football, soccer, volleyball, and rugby.
What connections to standards can you share with other teachers that you have made between your standards and STC lessons?
Tons…too many to list. I always modify the lessons to include cross curricular integration as well as connections to both Colorado Academic Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.
What connections to other subjects (Math/ELA) have you made to specific STC lessons that you could share with other teachers?
Again, too many to list. I always modify the lessons to include cross curricular integration and connect to Colorado Academic Standards, Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards often times at multiple grade levels (the math tends to be higher than the science).
Anything else you’d like to share? (Think about what you would say to a new or returning middle school physics teacher to help them out in a specific area)
The biggest things for me are get the kids engaged and excited about science before throwing all of thematic at them; build in the math and teach it completely – don’t assume they know something. TEACH the whole math lesson and scaffold the math portions (you do not want them to not like science just because they struggle with the thematic portion); and integrate, integrate, integrate – find ways to incorporate lots of other disciplines into your classes (when you make it connect to many other things, you will get every kid excited for a different reason, but you will get EVERYONE excited!!).