Thursday, September 23, 2010

Physics Is Streetlights

So we bounced balls and we modeled the real world with some math. I even had students with graphing calculators out with no prompting. We figured out that we can do the basics of this physics thing. But why would we do this physics thing?

I had the students look at this picture for a few minutes. Actually 3.5 minutes exactly. I do this thing where when I give them time to complete a task I open up my iTunes and play a song the length that I give them to work. I even have music sets for longer periods of time. And just in case that is not enough the last song in a set is always orchestral in nature so they know that work time is coming to an end.

I asked them to write about the picture. Start with just noticing details and then ask questions about the picture. What do you want to know about what is going on?

"In this picture, the first thing that i saw right away was the race of all 7 men. They are of course sitting in the streets and they have notebooks and books with them. As people would get stereotyped into the group as "People who live in the projects, have no future". But looking at this picture made me feel like they wanted to better themselves and better their lives and get an education. That was my first assumption. Also, it looks dark outside, and they are outside reading. I'm not sure if it was night or early morning. If it's the morning, it made me feel like they were maybe waiting for a bus or about to go to school. If it's at night, maybe some of them don't have homes with electricity. So they need light to see what they are reading. Their cloths look rugged and worn. They aren't the newest, yet they aren't the oldest. But as I looked into every each and one of their faces, you can just see the determination and dedication they have to better their lives, and actually have and hold a future, instead of risk themselves surviving without an education for the rest of their life."

What teacher needs to say anything when the students bring that kind of heat? What if we brought that to our studies? What if we had a reason to bring that kind of dedication to our studies? The students do not know the question ahead of them yet. The big question will hopefully make their studies this important. And physics is what brings us light today.

Posted via email from Jim's posterous

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