Skip to main content

Passion + Physics + PBL = Personalization





As our first term of the year comes to an end, we have wrapped up our term long project.  There will be a lot more reflection to come.  I haven't gotten very far into the grading but had to take a moment to share one of the videos (I'll be sure to share others in future posts.) When I saw this one I had to share it out because it really struck me that it did more than we had intended for the project to do.

Our driving question was "How can I use physics to hack sports?"  So the intention was for students to make a connect between physics and a sport of their choice.  When given voice in the topic that they would cover, students gravitated to sports which played a major role in their lives, sports they were passionate about.

The result is a product which doesn't simply tie physics to sport.  It ties physics to something the student is passionate about.  So, although the video tells us about physics and sport, it tells us just as much about the student.  It's a beautiful realization I never thought I'd see, but it is powerful.

As a science teacher, the traditional approach to a lab report creates a distance between the author and the data.  A product like this does just the opposite.  It shows how we live in a world governed by natural laws and why we need to understand them.  The student who created this video is Danyell Chupp.  If you enjoy her video, I'd encourage giving her a shout out on Twitter @danyellchupp.





Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  


In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.


Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…