Day 34 – Dimensional Dominoes

Mon Oct. 21, 2013

2013-10-21 10.27.55


2013-10-21 10.28.07

Chemistry 1 – Today’s activity was about how to do unit conversions the “fool proof” way.  I believe I first saw dimensional analysis (unit conversions) introduced this way when I was doing undergraduate classroom observations 12 years ago, and I’ve stuck with it ever sense.  We began class by “playing dominoes,” matching like dots to make a train.  I then switch the rules just slightly, instead of lining the like dots up we have to turn the dominoes vertically and match the top dot and putting the match on the bottom (see picture 1).  I then put the “chemistry dominoes” on the board.  We discuss what these dominoes have in common and it comes down to that the two values are equivalent.  Finally I showed some examples of how to “play chemistry dominoes.” (see picture 2).  Students then worked in small groups on an activity to practice this method.  (I plan to do a full blog post on this in the near future, when I do the link will be here.)

Physics 1 – Small groups created a velocity vs. time graph program for the robots.  Groups then switched computers, and without actually seeing or measuring the robots motion they created a position vs. time graph that exactly replicated the motion.  Once both graphs were created each was sent to a separate robot and we were able to compare the accuracy of the programs.  All groups succeed at that task with only minor time or speed discrepancies.

Chemistry 2 – Groups worked to summarize the findings of playing with the Acid/Base PhET simulation.  They created particle diagrams comparing strong vs. weak and concentrated vs. dilute acids and bases.


About bradwysocki

I teach high school Chemistry and Physics using Arizona State University's Modeling Method. The school I teach in is Bloomer HS in Northwest Wisconsin. I've been using the Modeling Method for 7 years now and have just recently begun using Standards Based Grading as a way to assess my students learning.
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