Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Forces and Interactions and Neutrinos, Oh My!

Three of my four classes took the CVPM test today. (Some more successfully than others: it never fails to astound me that students can get through Algebra 1 without being able to read a graph.)

The other class took theirs on Friday and has started BFPM. Today was supposed to be about learning to draw a useful FBD.But then they asked some really interesting questions, so instead of practicing FBDs, we talked about theories of gravity, FTL neutrinos, and the nature of science. Well, we didn't call it the Nature of Science, but we talked about evolving knowledge and not having a final answer, with a mention of experimental error and needing confirmation of an astounding result. It was fun (at least for me).

What worked:
  • Leaping "off-topic" in response to a good student question always engages students.
  • Everything we talked about was either topical or timeless. Most of it ranged from genuinely puzzling to mind-bending. (If your mind doesn't bend while thinking about General Relativity or FTL communication, you're not thinking about it hard enough.)
What didn't work:
  • We didn't practice using FBDs.
I think that practice time is a small price to pay, personally.

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