International Student Collaborations – This is How We Roll

BGL facilitated yet another amazing international student collaboration between Tsai Hsing School and the wonderful students and teachers at the Menlo School.  We modeled the current project – a physics experiment entitled This is How We Roll – after our very successful Cubic Foot Project from last fall.

This report is from BGL’s Teacher Steve:

With physics being a common element of the 8th grade curriculum at both schools, the goal of this collaborative project was to have both classes answer the same scientific essential question: How is the acceleration of a rolling object affected by the steepness of the slope on which it’s rolling?

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Small groups from each class were paired with a group from the other school.  Students got to know each other on the project’s Edmodo page where they posed and answered questions and then posted introductory videos about themselves and their campus.  The pride each student felt for their respective school shined through as the audience was expanded beyond the campus walls.

The groups then posted the procedures that they would follow to answer the experiment’s essential question.  Here is one group’s experimental steps:

Procedure:

1. Gather materials

2. Create a data table

3. Place small wedge underneath the track

4. Place speed meter before the break in the track

5. Place car at the top of the slope on the track

6. Push “start” on speed meter

7. Release car from the beginning of the track while simultaneously starting the stopwatch

8. As soon as the car reaches speed meter, stop the stopwatch

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9. Record time and velocity for trial one in data table

10. Repeat steps 3-9 with the medium and large wedges

11. Find the averages of the times and velocities

12. Use those averages in the the acceleration equation (Velocity final minus velocity initial divided by time) to find the acceleration.

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Students then posted on Edmodo the results for each of the variable inclines.  The groups commented on each other’s posts to discuss the similarities and differences between their findings.  Each group then offered a conclusion to the experiment discussing the science behind their results, including the application of Newton’s Law. The final post was a reflection on the merits and challenges of the collaborative experiment. 

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Now for the best part: a town-hall style meeting where students finally meet synchronously via video teleconferencing.  Students started by asking questions of the other class about the experiment and how it could be improved for next time.  Naturally, the conversation steered quickly toward the social and cultural differences and similarities between Taiwan and the U.S.  When not all students had time to participate, some students finished the conversation asynchronously by posting video responses on Edmodo.

 This is How We Roll was another successful collaboration that only strengthens our desire to continue these endeavors.  If your school is interested in participating, please comment below!

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