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Rough OoM Estimate for Number of HW Problems Assigned

  1. Dec 31, 2012 #1

    Ackbach

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    I'm just starting out teaching in a US high school, and I have AP Physics B that I'm taking over in the Spring. I've never taught physics before except in a tutoring context. All my students are seniors, and are taking 7 classes total! Each of those classes meets 4 times per week. So I can't just go wild and assign 30 problems every night. The total amount of time seniors spend on homework for all their classes needs to be about two hours a day. And the last piece of background info you need to answer my question is that, generally, I'm planning on doing a very short lecture in class (say, 10-15 minutes), followed by the students working on their "homework" sets in class, with me walking around and helping individual students. So they will have 35-40 minutes to work on their problem sets in class. I'm planning on collecting homework every day, except for quiz and test days.

    Given all this info, what do you think is a reasonable number of homework problems to assign each day?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
     
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  3. Feb 18, 2013 #2
    I can speak from a student's perspective who has taken AP Physics B. If you chose to have students work through the problems during class, it's reasonable to assign 15 core problems (plug into the formulas) and 5 challenge problems, which would yield 30 and 40 minutes each.

    What worked really well in my class was that all the homework sets were optional with answers included, in that I got 100% or exemption on the assignment. This allows the student to do what's necessary for their individual needs. Of course, this wouldn't work well in a freshman physics classroom, but considering that your students are AP-level seniors, such a level of autonomy is good for their morale and college preparation.
     
  4. Feb 20, 2013 #3

    Andy Resnick

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    Something's not adding up: each student is expected to spend 2 hours per day on homework, spread over 7 classes. That implies your homework 'allotment' is about 20 minutes per day. FWIW, where does the '2 hours' come from? High school seniors- especially ones taking advanced classes- should be expected to spend a *lot* more time on homework.

    I'm also a little confused by your classroom activities- they will be spending more time on the 'homework' in your classroom then they would be at home! Is there not a lab component to your class?
     
  5. Feb 20, 2013 #4

    Ackbach

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    Well, you've hit right on the problem. The seniors simply don't have time enough for each class, in my opinion.

    Two hours is a rough estimate for the amount of time per class per day they would spend in college. If you figure about 15 hours of class per week, that's a total of 45 hours of school work per week, which is certainly not unreasonable. But these kids are doing more like 35 hours of class per week, and they're in sports and every extra-curricular available.

    We spend some time on homework in class, but we can't afford loads of time. I had to change the format of the class since I wrote the OP. The kids need more guidance than that plan was offering. I'm now doing more lecture than I was.

    There are no labs, unfortunately. The issue is that I took over this course mid-year, and the instructor who started the year left in November. Then there was a substitute until the end of the semester. So you can imagine that they didn't make a whole lot of progress through the book (I'm not saying their time was wasted, mind you) for the entire month of November and December. As a result, they were way behind, and I'm having to scurry to make sure I cover all the topics needed for the exam before it hits. We're really up against it!
     
  6. Feb 20, 2013 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    Blech... sounds like you got the short end of the stick. Good luck!
     
  7. Feb 20, 2013 #6

    Ackbach

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    Hehe. Thanks. The good thing is that the (really wonderful) administration is well aware of the issue, and very supportive. That makes things so much better! I don't think anyone is judging anything on the basis of this semester.
     
  8. Mar 9, 2013 #7

    Redbelly98

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    FYI, I'm pretty sure labs are supposed to be a part of all the AP Physics courses. You might want to check the College Board website, and see what you can find in the way of information or other material.
     
  9. Mar 9, 2013 #8

    Ackbach

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    You're quite right. However, due to the students having had two different teachers last semester, and another change of teacher for this semester, there simply isn't time to do labs and cover all the material we have to cover.
     
  10. Mar 10, 2013 #9

    Redbelly98

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    You're not in an easy position, and I see it's been a couple months since you first posted. Good luck, and hope it is going well.
     
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