At a Glance

Discipline

  • STEM
  • Physics

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP
  • University

Course

  • Physics NYA, Mechanics

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Discussing
  • Analyzing
  • Gaming & role-playing

Technical Details

Class size

  • Small (20-49)
  • Medium (50-99)

Time

Brief segment of class period (< 20 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building

Socio Affective Engagement

  • Array
  • Array

Overview

This collection of card sorting activities encourages students to classify sets of cards according to various criteria. It forces students to make connections between various representations of a concept. For instance, in kinematics, students need to connect graphs with motion descriptions and categorize graphs according to the change in speed.  

The activities are built on the Desmos Classroom Activity platform, a free platform designed to promote the learning of mathematics. (To get started with Desmos visit this ...

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This collection of card sorting activities encourages students to classify sets of cards according to various criteria. It forces students to make connections between various representations of a concept. For instance, in kinematics, students need to connect graphs with motion descriptions and categorize graphs according to the change in speed.  

The activities are built on the Desmos Classroom Activity platform, a free platform designed to promote the learning of mathematics. (To get started with Desmos visit this Saltise resource.) Students can access the activity through a website by using an activity code without the need to create an account. Conducting the activity online is more time-efficient than with physical cards. It also allows us to: add instructions directly in the activity, add other types of questions (ranking, calculation, multiple-choice, reflection…) to make the activity more complete, and provide immediate feedback. 

 The activities are designed to be done in small groups. The cards become a conversation starter to promote discussions and negotiation between students. 

 

 

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Instructional Objectives

  • Students will develop their ability to reason about physics concepts in terms of multiple representations (beyond just using equations).

 

 

Student Learning Outcomes

 

 

 

Workflow & Materials

Contributor's Notes

Jean-François Brière
Jean-François Brière

Dawson College, Montreal, QC

Benefits

  • Having the activity online means no more printing and cutting of cards, no more checking that all card sets are complete.
  • The activities can easily be used in online teaching.
  • The dynamic nature of the activities favours discussions and collaboration.
  • The activities can easily be shared with colleagues.

 

 

Challenges

  • The number of cards must be limited to about 15 to be easily manageable on the screen. 
  • Creating new activities is time-consuming. (But once created they are ready to go every year!) 

 

 

Tips

  • Use the activities early in the teaching process when students are still struggling with concepts.
  • The Desmos teacher’s dashboard offers various options to quickly survey and present student work.
  • Setting the web browser to a zoom of about 80% gives more space to order the cards.
  • Plan some extra autonomous work for groups who complete the activity more quickly.

 

 

Applied Strategies

  1. 1
    Concept Mapping