Day 4: Feynman, Petals on a Rose, and Ball Bounce


College-Prep Physics: Feynman says doing physics is like figuring out the the rules of chess by watching the chess games be played. It’s a great analogy for doing science and modeling:

Then we did our own version of this, with a little game called Petals on a Rose. To make the game go quicker, I just rolled two dice (live) instead of five. The kids were really into it. It was great watching them build their mental models for the how the game worked. Even better was when, after several successful predictions, a roll would NOT match their prediction. “WHAT?!?” they’d say. But after a few minutes, just about everybody came around.

For the remainder of the period, students worked on collecting and analyzing data for the ball bounce lab. Last year I limited students to just 10 minutes with the ball. Big mistake. This year they had about 30 minutes … gave them lots of time to take lots of data points and do repeated trials. How/what data they collected was up to them. Tomorrow I’ll bring out the hoop and they’ll get one chance to drop the ball so it rebounds up to the height of the hoop — not any higher or lower.


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About Frank Noschese

HS Physics Teacher constantly questioning my teaching.

2 responses to “Day 4: Feynman, Petals on a Rose, and Ball Bounce”

  1. insanephysics74 says :

    Question? What information, if any, do you give your students to begin with? Do they know the name of the game?

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