Keep It Real

Driving home today, a tiny fawn jumped out in front of me.  I hit the brakes and swerved hard, and missed it by about 2 feet.

When I got home, I reached for my cell phone in the passenger seat, but it wasn’t there.  After picking it up off the floor, I thanked Newton’s laws of motion for the extra work (I’m weird, I know).

The next time I teach Newton I’ve got a meaningful story to tell.  …All those boring book problems while we’re surrounded by real-life examples that do a better job.

Here’s another- I’m standing in front of 2 vending machines. The first sells 12-ounce cans of soda for 75 cents, while the other sells 20-ounce bottles for $1.25.  Which is the better deal?

One more- ever walk by a helium balloon and notice it leans towards you?

Picture yourself as a student.  Which kind of problems would you enjoy more?  Now picture yourself as a teacher armed with a helium balloon and story about how your cell phone ended up on the floor of your car.  Which kinds of problems are relevant and do a better job teaching and getting your students to engage and think?

Now it’s your turn.  For the next day or so, see if you notice things you can use as examples and anecdotes in your classroom.  You don’t even have to go looking for them; they’ll find you.