Examples of Feedback to Students (More)
The number one keyword searche that ends up at my site is now “student feedback examples”, so I figured I’d make another post where I just brain dump some examples of feedback I’ve given students this semester. It makes me think at some point I should write a post about how I think about feedback, and not just be lazy and dump it. But, I don’t have time, so here’s more examples.
An idea you introduce is the idea you remember learning that light travels in straight lines–you use this idea I think to show how light from a person’s head would have to travel diagonally down to get in the box, placing it toward the bottom, and vice versa for the feet. Beyond remembering this, I’m curious what evidence, if any, we’ve collected since writing this to support this idea. In other words, why should we believe you that light travels in straight lines, beyond remembering it?
In assignment two, I saw you as trying to figure out how the hole might act like a lens, because of your analogy with a projector. I think your idea makes sense in the following way: A projector is kind of like “a box” with light inside of it. You were thinking that since the cardboard box doesn’t have a light inside of it, the hole must be the way that light gets in and, now having been trapped inside, the light can now act like a source of light inside the box. Is that right?
Your assignment reminded me that after writing this, you guys tried putting a light inside the box in class, and found that it made the image “white-washed” and made it disappear. I’m curious why you think putting the light inside the box made the image disappear, but a light inside the projector is necessary to make it work. What’s do you think is different about the two situations?
I understand that feeling–feeling like you are stuck at a dead end. It seems like the research online has given you some new words like “refraction”. Based on the writing here, I can’t tell how you are making sense of the idea of refraction. What it means to you? How you think it works? Why you think it happens with the eye but not the box? As a reader, I’m sort of left in the dark, wondering about all of this.
I also see this assignment as you sort of just jotting down some quick notes, rather than using the writing assignment as an opportunity to really work through the dead end. Writing about how you got to this dead end, what ideas you’ve tried, and why you think they aren’t working might help. Or may be writing about other people’s ideas you’ve heard about (in class or online), by really trying to unpack them. It’s OK to write about the things that don’t make sense, or your grappling to make sense of them!
In this assignment, you were proposing an idea we’ve talked about in person–that the hole doesn’t let the image in, in somehow sets up the situation, for the image to seep through the cardboard sides of the box.
A lot of what this idea is based on how we can “see” images that are facing the white papers inside, no matter where the paper was in relationship to the hole. So you were thinking that must mean the image travels straight in (even through) the cardboard. At first, I wasn’t completely making sense of this idea, but now I understand what you are saying and why it makes sense. It’s a model that explains your data. I think what makes it hard to understand, is that many would think it sounds implausible–how could the image just go through the cardboard? I’m curious how you might convince someone that is happening, or what evidence you could collect to show that happening.
I think these diagrams provide really useful detail to explain your thinking about the process. Light from the sun bounces off objects, and into the box, and then off the paper and into the eye (where we see it). I think what’s interesting is your discovery on how different objects in the world end up in different places in the box. How the objects on the lower half ended up on the ceiling of the box, and the upper half ended up at the back of the box.
While others were at this time describe on an “image” as one thing, you were thinking about the upper part and lower part. I see this as the beginning of your newly developing idea about pixels. Instead of just thinking of an image as “whole” or even just upper and lower “parts”, you seem now to be thinking of an image as composed of many, many, many tiny parts. This approach in science is called reductionism, trying to understand a whole by reducing it to parts. A very scientific thing to be doing. For us, I think it opens new questions we couldn’t have asked before with your contribution.
The big thing I see you as having introduced here is the idea that light must bounce off in all directions in order for multiple boxes to be able to see the car. When we were outside, all the boxes could see the bus going by, you didn’t have to be in a special place. In your idea here, it looks like each light ray carries the entire image of the car, so that at least one ray will get inside your box. In doing this, I see you as striving to build a model consistent with what you know from everyday life.
To explain why it gets upside down, you proposed that images must flip at every bounce. What I like about this idea, is that even though it seems complex to say that it bounces every single time, it shows attention to consistency. You might have thought, “Well if the flips the first time, I should probably say it flips every time.” So I see you also striving to build a model that is consistent with itself.
These two kinds of consistency–consistency with observations and internal consistency are two different, but really important aspects of science. Even if your ideas change, which I’m sure they will, you are beginning this process by striving to be very consistent and that’s important as you collect more observations and more ideas.
Even though you have already abandoned your model from this assignment, I think it has characteristics that make it very scientific. Importantly, your diagrams aren’t just a picture, they help to tell a story. That’s like what we read in “Becoming Scientists”–that models help to explain something.
Also, by specifying where the flipping might be happening (inside the box off the top and bottom surfaces), you were setting up us to scientific progress the next day! Because later, you found that images could be made even without a top or bottom wall, which helped to prove that the flipping must be happening somewhere else.
I know that sometimes you are worried you aren’t making progress, but I see you as being very brave and willing to try ideas and test them, and even to admit when they are wrong. That’s huge progress. Keep it up!
In assignment two, you took a stab at proposing an idea about how the image might get upside down. Your idea at the time was that maybe light from the sun shines directly in the box, and how it bounces back towards the hole makes it upside down.
We’ve now seen evidence that light must shine on the objects and light doesn’t need to shine directly on the box (Fantastic Four’s Experiments with Umbrellas); but it was a very brave scientific thing to do to propose a tentative idea. Your idea is actually what lead that group to do their experiments. So, together, as a team, your idea and their experiment has led us to make really progress! We couldn’t have made that progress without your idea.
Maybe you’ll be able to return the favor to another group–hear another’s idea that makes you want to test something that will help decide the fate of their idea.
This is some serious scientific work here. The way your diagrams carefully show the details of what you thinking might be happening. The step-by-step break down of what happens first, second, etc. The use of language that is easy to understand and the connections to things you know. All of this is really great!
Your idea is that light from the sun (or candles) reflects off dull objects, just not as much, and that light travels all around. The walls of the box keep out most of the light, except a small amount that goes through the hole.
Then your idea is that image gets formed at the reflective tape, which is concave. And you have really related this to the spoon. Your idea about why this happens is that light projects off the bottom of the concave surface and the flips on the bounce back up. Even though we now know we don’t need a concave reflective surface, this is really scientific for a couple of reason: It was a tangible idea related to an everyday observation (spoons). It also specified “where” the flip was happening (at the tape) and related it to a process (bouncing off the bottom part). Taking a shot at trying to explain how it might work shows real courage and grit, which is big part of learning science and learning in general.
In this assignment, you explored the connection between the eye and the box. It seems like in this assignment, you were still groping for connections. Is it about the amount of light? Or the brain? You seemed to have settle on the idea that, since the eye is attached to a brain, our brain can process the image to reflip it for us to “see”. Even though you weren’t sure at the time, I can see how you used this assignment to make progress in your thinking, and that’s really important.
I can see this especially, at the end where you said something to the effect of, “Wait, but our eyes aren’t looking directly at the object! We’re looking at the image of the object!” And that caused you to start thinking even more. That’s a big part of writing out your ideas–you realize things you that wouldn’t have just sitting their thinking.