Overview

In this activity, students will answer a series of short conceptual clicker questions designed to teach them to think about projectile motion.

Prior to the activity, the instructor gives a lecture on projectile motion. The first clicker question is then introduced, and is a simple question about projectile motion. Once student responses have been collected, if more than 75% of students answered correctly the instructor explains the correct answer, otherwise students are told to pair up and discuss the question then re-polled.

This is repeated for the second, then third problem. These problems are more difficult, requiring students to think about ...

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In this activity, students will answer a series of short conceptual clicker questions designed to teach them to think about projectile motion.

Prior to the activity, the instructor gives a lecture on projectile motion. The first clicker question is then introduced, and is a simple question about projectile motion. Once student responses have been collected, if more than 75% of students answered correctly the instructor explains the correct answer, otherwise students are told to pair up and discuss the question then re-polled.

This is repeated for the second, then third problem. These problems are more difficult, requiring students to think about the relationship between the height, air time, and distance of a projectile. After the third problem, the instructor highlights the key points, emphasizing that the time spent in the air by a projectile is directly related to its height, not to the distance traveled.

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Objectives

Students learn to recognize distinction between the horizontal and vertical components of projectile motion. Students learn that it is the vertical height of a projectile that determines the time spent in the air, not the horizontal distance traveled.

Context and requirements

Level College/First year university
Discipline Physics
Course Mechanics
Activity Content Projectile Motion
Technological Requirements Clickers, or similar.
Best Use Practice, Review

Author’s Notes

Benefits

This simple activity can be done in a lecture room of any size. It gives students a real life scenario similar to others they have seen (everyone has seen objects being thrown in real life), confronting their misconceptions about something they feel they know very well.

Their first response to the second question tends to be that there isn’t enough information, but you gradually show them that this simply isn’t the case.

Challenges

Without feedback, students will continually pick the closer ship. This makes both the “think pair share” portion and the instructor feedback vital to this activity.

Tips

During the “think pair share” portion, you should give students a hint rather than simply telling them that it’s not right.

The “think pair share” portion is only really necessary if less than 70-80% of the students answer correctly. You might therefore skip it for the first problem. In the other two problems, however, the majority of students will usually answer incorrectly.

Activity Pedagogical Components

Preparation

The instructor completes a lecture on projectile motion to prepare students for the questions. This is completed IN CLASS.

Peer Instruction

INDIVIDUALLY, students respond to clicker questions. They then split into PAIRS to discuss the question, then are re-polled. This process is repeated for all three questions. This is completed IN CLASS.

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