I will complete my fourth year as the AP Physics teacher at MWHS and my tenth year as a teacher. It has always been a challenge to teach a large amount of content in a short amount of time. When May rolls around and we have the test ahead of us I am proud of the dedication and drive the students have to be successful. They have spent all year preparing for this test, which includes nightly problems, labs, reading and weekend review sessions. I have found that allowing students to be creative and to have a voice on class routines creates a successful classroom.
Every year, the students have a new technology focus that they drag me into. This year’s trend was selfies. Students wanted extra credit for working on an electricity free response over a weekend, but I explained to the students that there was no way for me to check if they worked on a free response. The students came up with the idea of posting a selfie of themselves working on the free response on schoology. This was the beginning of the AP Physics selfie craze. The students were using the technology creatively and it allowed for some comic relief during a stressful time.
After the AP Physics test, we prepare for the annual Valleyfair Physics Day Experience. AP Physics breaks into small groups, and each group is responsible for making Bill Nye-like movies explaining the physics behind three rides at Valleyfair. The students needed to create storyboards describing the videos in detail. I gave them objectives that should be addressed in each ride, but after those simple guidelines I let the students run with their ideas. I would check in with each group at the end of every class. I was pleased with all the developments. Groups were recording supplemental video clips of small scale, group designed rides. They were creating mini-experiments to explain their rides. Everyday the groups were asking for equipment and brainstorming recording ideas.
The Valleyfair Day arrives and the students are well planned out on what needs to be done at Valleyfair. As a mother of two, I worry about students wandering around a park by themselves. I shared this with my students. None of my students made fun of me or acted annoyed. MWHS students are too caring and understanding, and the selfie theme reappeared. The students checked-in via selfie. The students would text me a selfie with Valleyfair in the background.
The best selfie came when a group was collecting data about the Renegade. The ride broke down while the students were at the top of the first drop on the ride. They sent me a selfie explaining the situation and a nerdy joke.
“Our kinetic energy is low right now. Potential is high tho.”
I love the nerdy joke. I love the selfie, and I love that one student is wearing my lab coat. It was his costume for his video. He is Will Guy, The Science Guy. The students are proud. They are not concerned with what other schools thought of them with their strange costumes and acting weird for their videos. MWHS students want to create the best projects possible. The students did eventually get off the ride. When we returned to the classroom the students were showing me their footage and they are putting together their amazing videos. I am proud of my student’s ability to take ownership and creative charge of assignments.
I asked the students how we should take our class photo (what a silly question ;) Of course, we should take a selfie. #selfie
Mrs. Morinville and the AP Physics class