In the mind of a CBE

Teaching Newton’s Laws of Motion with Student Choice – A CBE Aha! Moment 8.18

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We’re excited to share another CBE Aha! Moment. These “Aha! Moments” encourage educators to reflect on past teaching practices and identify ways BrainPOP can be used to improve upon them. Read on to see how August’s CBE of the Month, Tomika Altman-Lewis, has changed her teaching with BrainPOP. An important practice for all, we hope sharing these moments will inspire you to do the same!

1) Tell us your BrainPOP “Aha! Moment” from the certification process. What specific use or application of BrainPOP excited you during this course? How did it change your expectation for using BrainPOP in your teaching practice?

There were so many “Aha! Moments” that I experienced throughout the CBE process, but the things that excited me the most was that I could use BrainPOP tools to transform my assessments.  Rather than give my students a traditional assessment consisting of fill-in-the-blank, essays, and/or multiple choice questions I could have my students illustrate and explain their thinking using SnapThought, Make-a-Movie, or Make-a-Map tools.

2) What is a specific lesson or unit you’ve taught in the past that you can re-formulate to bring in the new tools, features, or content you discovered through the CBE process?

One lesson that I taught previously relates to Newton’s Three Laws of Motion.  Previously, I provided my students with an assessment task using Power Wheel Cars to demonstrate the Three Laws of Motion. They could illustrate, create an iMovie, write, or provide me with an alternative of their choice to demonstrate their understanding of the laws.  Students also completed a multiple-choice and short-answer assessment. Now, I provide students with another option using BrainPOP interactive tools such as:

  • Make-a-Map using key vocabulary and demonstrate how the Three Laws of Motions are related.  
  • Use SnapThought to take screenshots from the Newton’s Laws of Motion movie  to demonstrate their understanding of the laws.
  • Create their own movie about The Three Laws of Motion using Make-a-Movie

3) How will you integrate BrainPOP’s new features and tools to replace what you’ve done in the past?

Considering I have already had the opportunity to implement my Aha! Moment, I will take the aforementioned activities a step forward by encouraging students to bring the activities to life by using Creative Coding to demonstrate their understanding of key concepts.

Creative Coding is a new add-on feature of BrainPOP where students can apply their understanding of concepts by coding a meme, stop motion animation, doodle augmented reality, or newscast.  If an educator or student is not familiar with coding don’t worry, BrainPOP has scaffolded projects and ways to support students.

Another way that I plan to integrate BrainPOP’s new features is to put a twist on Creative Coding by having students code their understanding based on one of the activities.  For example, two of the activities for “Newton’s Laws of Motion” video contains a graphic organizer on the three laws and an activity where students have to read statements and label the law of motion that it illustrates it.  Rather than just have the students complete the activities students can code their answers using Creative Coding. I cannot wait to try this idea out to help my students demonstrate their understanding of concepts that go beyond a traditional assessment. As equally as important, my students will be able to review these concepts at the end of the year to help them review for our state’s science assessment.