Don’t Rush Whiteboarding

Recently, I had my students do a balanced forces card sort from Kelly O’Shea. The card sort was great, but I rushed through the whiteboarding and, as a result, a lot of students missed adding labels to the free-body diagrams and vector addition diagrams on the card sort page of their packet.

This became an issue when we started doing problems. Students were pretty good at drawing the right vector addition diagram, but weren’t labeling them, which made it really tough to keep track of what those arrows represented in order to set up the math.

My takeaway? Don’t skimp on the whiteboarding! The discussions are crucial to students attaching meaning to the representations and making sense of how to use representations appropriately. If we rush through the discussion, students will have gaps in their understanding that cause problems later on.

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