Teaching Methods

AP Physics 1 Review Unit

As a general rule I kind of hate reviews. They make the students feel good, but I’m not sure how much they actually get from the traditional review session a day or so before the test. I do a lot of problem solving work with my students all year long, using different strategies to help maximize their efforts on both the multiple choice and the FRQs. So by the time we are two weeks from the AP exam I want to build their confidence, let them have some fun and have some meaningful conversations along the way.

We dedicate a day to each of the topics on the AP exam. Each day there is a new challenge. (Links to activities provided!)

For the kinematics challenge students have to “match the graph” but unlike the first week of school, I want them matching the values and intercepts as well!

Last year for day 2 we did a long forces FRQ practice. We had 25 minute classes in SY 2020-21, so I did not have time to do the practice as I described in this post until finals week. My practicum asks students to determine coefficients of friction using only a meterstick.

For UCM I focus students in on rote practice drawing force diagrams and writing sum of forces expressions for multiple scenarios.

Work and energy has so many cool opportunities for a lab practicum. I have students choose their own adventure from one of several Pivot Interactives videos

For momentum I give students a random ziploc bag of stuff (beans, pennies, highlighters…literally anything I can find)… and I ask students to come up with two methods to determine the mass of the bag!

Simple harmonic motion is a card sort. I have position, velocity and acceleration vs time graphs generated for a mass-spring system and a simple pendulum. (link to jamboard version from 2020-21 SY) I also have some extra graphs. (Here’s an example of a completed assignment!)

I believe firmly in the power of deep conversations. The challenge is making those conversations into something cohesive and reflective. Each year I move further away from “traditional” review. At some point we have to trust that we’ve done the best we can as their educators and that at some point we have to let them fly.

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