AP® Physics: Rotation skills!

AP Physics rotational motion packet cover page
In AP® Physics C: Mechanics, we are starting the most challenging unit of them all: ROTATIONAL MOTION.  What makes it stand out from the others?  Every single skill we have practiced reappears with a dash of rotation added in.  I mentioned I use standards-based grading (SBG) in my courses in my last post.  This means I assess students per skill as opposed to giving them a composite score on assessments.  This way the students can hone in on the skills they need to develop and rejoice in those they have mastered.  I will get into SBG more in the future.  For now, I want to share the skills I use for this beefy unit:

Skills used on assessments for standards-based grading

Whenever I create skills, I write them from the student's perspective and strive to make them as measurable and stand-alone as possible.  Each and every year I tweak and adjust the number of skills, the wording, and the order in response to the learning and feedback of the kids.  In my physics courses, I was fortunate enough to start from the skills generated by Kelly O'Shea and modify from there.  I'm so grateful for her blog!  In AP®, I started from the curriculum and generated a preliminary list of skills.  I have been patiently massaging the list for years now, and I'm happy to report that I feel I'm converging on a solution!  I so appreciate that skills make even the most intimidating content seem manageable and force you (and the students) to focus on the true fundamentals.  I also love when the kids say, "Can we do an RMM.3 problem?" or "I really need to work on RMM.2 before the next quiz."  Just hearing them use the "secret" language of our class with confidence and clarity is really very cool.

Today was the first day back from break and my small, determined group of AP®-ers began exploring RMM.1. Not only did I love seeing them after a long break, but I was also highly impressed with their willingness to dive back into the whiteboarding.  Even better, they all came prepared!


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