Today, I was observed and wanted to try something new. Last semester, we focused on lot of explaining physics phenomena and supporting explanations with evidence and physics principles through peer instruction. This semester, I want students to focus on writing paragraph-length responses to prompts similar to those expected on the AP Physics 2 exam. I started by sharing expectations for those paragraph-length responses. I then showed a waveform of a song in Audacity to remind students how when a phone plays a song, it is providing a current, of varying direction and magnitude, to the speaker. I then demonstrated a paper plate speaker.
I then had students write their own response to the prompt “Explain how the speaker converts the electrical signal provided by the phone into the sound that we hear.” Students then worked in groups of three of four to combine their responses into a single response which they typed into a Google document shared with the other groups. We then, as a whole class, critiqued the responses from each of the six groups. The whole lesson took much longer than expected, but I think it was worth the time invested. I shared the lesson with a communication arts teacher later, and it sounds like I’m on the right track. Next time, I’ll talk to the communication arts teacher first!