Dr. Brett Moudling, who was a contribution to the Framework for K-12 Science Education, which is the foundation for Next Generation Science Standards, was the keynote speaker at today’s county-wide institute day. I liked how he groups the cross-cutting concepts into three related categories:
He also categorized the science and engineering practices into three categories: Gathering, Reasoning, and Communicating.
I also attended a break-out session led by Dr. Moudling. Part of the session was to make observations and build explanations for the observed phenomenon of ice cubes in isopropanol. It was a fascinating activity as so many different phenomena were observed. My group focused on density effects, index of refraction, and melting characteristics. The entire session had a long discussion about where the ice cube floats between the alcohol and water boundary. I quickly calculated the buoyancy and I’m fairly confident that 40% of the cube would be in the alcohol and 60% in the water. I don’t think I convinced the session of this as we had contradicting observations. After the session, my group added more ice and we’re pretty sure of the 40/60 split. Maybe that was confirmation bias, however. I think this would be a great activity for AP Physics 2 next year.
The final session was by Dr. Pete Ludovice from Georgia Tech. He is a chemical engineering professor and a stand-up comedian. His topic was “Making Science Fun – Humor in the Classroom.” It was a very entertaining session and a great way to end the day.