Day 15: Color-Coded Graphs and Diagrams

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Taking a page from Knight's textbook and Matter & Interactions, I have begun to require my students to color code their diagrams. Blue is for position and displacement (area under velocity graph). Green is for velocity. Black is for objects (dots) and graph axes. Red will be for forces and for acceleration (using double-headed arrows). While I don't have any official research to support this, I think the use of color will decrease students' cognitive load when interpreting and looking at diagrams on each others boards and on worksheets.

I stuck with using red for acceleration (Knight uses orange) because of the standard four color whiteboard makers and the 4-in-1 colored pens my students should have with them each day. I use the double arrow head for acceleration to distinguish it from force and to aid red-green color blind students when reading motion maps with green velocity arrows.

Stay tuned for more examples!

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About Frank Noschese

HS Physics Teacher constantly questioning my teaching.

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