8th grade VT science: interpreting distance over Touchcast

 

"An alien named Athena lives on Mars, and goes to school. Athena's house is a spaceship. When she left to go to school, she realized she left something about half way...."

“An alien named Athena lives on Mars, and goes to school. Athena’s house is a spaceship. When she left to go to school, she realized she left something about half way….”

 

by Rachel Goodale (Peoples Academy Middle Level)

We started out this year with a Physics Unit studying the relationships between time, distance, and speed. Students worked in partners and were given ten different speed graphs to analyze. They were also given ten different stories explaining the graphs.

Students were expected to focus in on features of the graphs such as the slope of the line indicating a faster or slower rate of speed (amount of distance in a given amount of time). They then had to match up the ten stories to the 10 graphs.

The idea was adapted from this Lesson Plan: Interpreting distance / time graphs (pdf)

Enter:  TouchCast!

After the students completed the matching part of the project, they were assigned a single graph to analyze further. Partners were expected to take a picture of their assigned graph: this image was then inserted as a “V-App” into the TouchCast screen, present in one corner of the screen shot at all times.  Now the student who was doing the filming/recording would be able to draw on the graph, explaining the different key features of the graph. The other partner would physically act out what is going on in the graph (running, walking, or stopping as indicated by the graph).

"Tom ran from his home to the bus stop and waited. He realized that he had missed the bus so he walked home."

“Tom ran from his home to the bus stop and waited. He realized that he had missed the bus so he walked home.”

 This technology allows students to capture motion in real time while simultaneously relating this real motion to the information encoded in the two-dimensional graph. If I could spend more time on this project, I would try to provide the students with more space to execute this task.  However, in one hour class, I was able to receive TouchCasts from each of the partner pairs.  I received a lot of positive feedback from students about this class, and am certain that some powerful learning connections were made!

Rachel Goodale teaches 8th grade science at Peoples Academy Middle Level in Morrisville, VT.  Visit her class website here. You can also browse the rest of her class’ distance/time Touchcasts by opening the app and searching on “Here’s How to Read a Speed Graph”.

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Audrey Homan
Audrey Homan does online things like game-building, blog-posting, live-tweeting and video-editing for the Tarrant Institute. She also gets to dremel DIY iPad carts and make up theme songs for other people's columns. It's a good life, is what she's saying.
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