From the Slopes to the Science Lab: Experiential Learning in Grade 10 Physics

LAS Journal

From the Slopes to the Science Lab: Experiential Learning in Grade 10 Physics

Here at LAS, we love providing experiential learning opportunities to our students. Experiential learning is the idea that students learn better when they can apply their subjects to the real world through hands-on experiences. This can be travel opportunities, learning from a visiting expert, or going out into nature during lessons. This week, some of our Grade 10 science students learned about the physics of skiing by going out onto the mountain. It was a great way to get outside and enjoy the slopes while also learning through applying their studies to the real world! 

The Grade 10 science students are currently doing a mock Internal Assessment (IA) project, where they have to create a hypothesis, collect their data, and write up their findings in an essay-style paper. This is done to prepare them for the IB Diploma next year, where they will write an IA for each subject. Learning these skills early on will allow them to practice their writing, data collection, and analytical skills in a supportive environment where they can learn from their mistakes and understand the IA process.

Going up on the slopes was a lot of fun, and our students loved testing their theories and collecting data using technology such as speedometers, apps on their phones, and video analysis techniques. Changing the variables, such as the size of skis, amount of wind resistance, and slope gradient allowed them to either prove or disprove their theories. What resulted was some interesting findings from their data collection, and a much more grounded understanding of how different factors can affect the velocity of skiers going down the mountain.

In addition to completing their data collection and writing up their IA for this science unit, the grade 10 students also gained valuable insight from a grade 12 student last week about the IA process, and how she wrote up her hypothesis and findings. This was really useful, and allowed students to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of the process they will embark on next year. In addition, next week the students will have a session with one of the librarians about referencing, an important element of essay and paper writing that shows the reader the validity of the their arguments by viewing their sources.

By engaging in hands-on experiences like exploring the physics of skiing, our grade 10 students not only deepen their understanding of academic concepts but also develop essential skills for their future academic assessments. Through projects like the mock IA, they learn the importance of creating a hypothesis, collecting data, and producing analytical writing, all of which will prepare them for the IB Diploma. As we foster our philosophy of experiential exploration and discovery in classes, our students continue to thrive in an environment where they are encouraged to challenge themselves, equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed in their future academic journeys.


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