Tag Archive | experimental design

Day 65: Mini-Poster Presentations


College-Prep Physics: Today the students presented their mini-posters to each other. Rather than having each group present to the whole class, I had students rotate through the posters “speed dating” style. Each student got to present their poster to a small group of peers, with the groups rotating through the posters. Students also had to fill out an anonymous evaluation for each poster: Experimental Design Poster Checklist 2014. Presentations/evaluations lasted 5 minutes each with 30 seconds to rotate to the next poster.

Day 64: Mini-Posters


College-Prep Physics: Students hard at work on their mini-posters for their pull-back toy truck lab.

Day 63: Experimental Design


College-Prep Physics: We’re wrapping up constant velocity motion, but have 1 week left before Christmas break. So to help prepare students for their midterm projects (which is a student-designed lab experiment), I asked them to design an experiment for a pull-back toy truck. Later in the week they will create a mini-poster and present their poster to peers.

I also gave students some scaffolding with an experimental design packet. While they probably didn’t need it for this activity, I found that last year’s students had  a hard time with experimental design for the midterm and final projects because it was a lot more open ended than today’s activity. They’ll use the packet again for their midterm project proposals.

Here’s the experimental design packet (inspired by an Inquiry Boards framework for younger students): CP Lab Experiment Proposal – Pull Back Car 2014

Day 43: Experimental Design (Factors Affecting Friction)

College-Prep Physics: I was inspired by John Burk’s weekend post about a classroom visit from Eugenia Etkina, in which she flat out says to John, “You guys like Socratic dialog way too much.” So today, I just told the class:


And I just let groups brainstorm and whiteboard their experimental designs first. I didn’t even tell them what materials they would have at their disposals to conduct their experiements — I just wanted to see what they would come up with first and not sway or confuse their thinking in any way.

I was impressed with everyone’s ideas, even if some struggled with control of variables for the surface area case. I particularly loved this board for its simplicity and effective communication via visuals:


(The words on the right got smudged. It says weight to match that of the big shoe.)