07 March 2011

Making Connections

One of the things I try to get students to do is make connections between what we are learning in class and the experience they have in their everyday lives. I'm not sure I've done a unit in which students have been as impacted as the current unit of study: Circular Motion. This is especially unfortunate, since I've not taught this unit to Physics 1 prior to this year. At least I know this unit is worth studying!

If you have read this blog in the past, you know I like to work hard on relevancy for students. I try hard to get students to see the meaning behind their learning. My desire for my class is to have students leave my class looking at the world in a different way. I think I have a few students who are really learning to do this without my prodding. They are beginning to blog about it and are going above and beyond the assignment requirements. So, I thought I'd share with you. This is from a learning log last week:

  • The thing that really stood out as being really significant to me this week was another reminder of how the application of physics is apparent nearly anywhere you walk! Coming up with how the circumference an object has relates to rotational motion was not a difficult task, but the revelation still struck. I feel that although most people may not find it necessary to apply this information in the future, I still fully enjoy learning these concepts because like people say, knowledge is power!The things I did this week that helped me learn best included keeping track of what I did the entire week to make this learning log easier and learning how to make use of every inch of time to conserve what I had left afterwards. I wrote down important notes and the significance of that day after class ended daily in order to get the most out of what occurred. In addition, I planned specific times I would on gathered assignments, when to study, and the organization of extra-curricular activities into my schedule. The plan fell together very nicely and everything that was needed to be finished got done, and I still had spare time!

    The things that hindered my learning this week included not synthesizing the information that I needed to continue the research paper that I had been working on for Sean and myself. While working on the paper Monday, I felt I was simply rephrasing the information that I was reading rather than fully processing it. I decided later this week to delete what I had typed down because I think I was just mimicking what information was put in front of me rather than showing proof that I knew what was being said. I know now the importance of truly studying.

    I felt frustrated sometimes when I had a difficult decision of my method of reading. Whenever I read slow, the contents of which I was reading seemed to drone on continuously with monotony and I often got bored easily, and in contrast I read fast but found myself rereading an excerpt because I did not fully understand what I read. My method of studying was under par from the expectations that I have of myself and nowhere close to my limitations. Hopefully the more I motivate myself to get up and read this information the proper way, the more I will learn.

    I was still curious about the physics that engineers have to consider when building rides at amusement parks. Long before high school I had a passionate dream of acquiring a career that involved designing and building roller coasters and various thrill rides(thanks to the addiction to the Roller Coaster Tycoon game series). I think that I have an amazing opportunity to go further in depth into what kind of mathematics lie behind the construction and invention of these wonderful thrillers.

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