As eighth graders completed five trials of walking and running 20 meters on their school’s track on April 23, they collected data to calculate their average speed. The exercise was part of a lab activity in science teachers Jean Windels’ and Jennifer Zopp’s Intro to Physics classes.
Prior to heading outdoors to gain practical experience, the students studied the concept of motion and completed various activities on their Chromebooks. As part of the assignment, they were challenged to consider the question of whether the time of year they were born in affects their speed walking and running for 20 meters.
“In addition to this being a fun activity, there was a great deal of science behind the expectations,” Windels said.
After the students collected data from all 134 eighth graders, they created graphs to compare their speeds with other students who were born at different times of the year. Then, they made claims and used the data to support their claims.
“As part of the reasoning aspect of the assignment, they considered if the data actually makes sense,” Windels said. “Was birthday the best piece of information to collect? Did all students try their best when running and walking? Could there have been any error in the timing? Did every group follow the same procedure?”
Windels and Zopp said they hope their students learned something while having fun.