Loftis Middle School
Energy Exploration: Comparing Electromagnets, Generators, and Electric Motors
Eighth-grade students across the nation use energy for the vast majority of the activities they partake in on any given day; after all, this is the “Age of Technology.” Very few of those students, however, can break that energy down enough to explain what type of energy is being used, how it is converted, how they could make it stronger, or even what mechanisms are involved in the creation of that energy. This inquiry-based unit not only engages the students in
something they are already obsessed with—electronics—but also allows them to explore what makes their electronics function, even taking some broken appliances apart to discover what makes them work or not work.
Students are experiencing what it is like to build an electromagnet, a generator, and a simple motor from scratch as well as discovering what actions must be taken to strengthen each energy source. In addition to learning how to build each appliance, students are comparing what types of energy is being produced and converted, truly allowing them to explore the concept of energy by designing and building a product that they get to advertise to their peers. Students may extend learning by moving from expert groups into collaborative groups to attempt to design a situation in which all three energy sources will work together.
Jennifer L. Mitchell
Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences
10th/11th Algebra II - All About Quads PBL
As a secondary math teacher I have been told that students that are successful in Algebra II in high school are less likely to struggle in college. As our district moves toward getting those students that want a higher education college ready, there is a great push for students not only understanding particular skills, but to retain that knowledge and be able to apply and justify. I have chosen to do this PBL on Quadratics, because Quadratics are such a foundational standard in Algebra I and Algebra II.
Students are first introduced to these types of functions in Algebra I, but since students are being introduced to Algebra I as earlier as eighth grade, some of these students do not have the mental capacity to fully understand the depth of Quadratic functions. As an Algebra I student, this unit of study usually has a time frame of eight weeks (yearlong courses) or four weeks (semester). As an Algebra II student, the duration is usually two to four weeks; because it is serving as a spring board to polynomial functions, logarithmic functions, along with many other functions.