Tuesday, August 31, 2010

assessment in math classes

just to make it official.

homework (10-15%, depending on class)
homework is assigned every beginning of the week and is assessed every end of the week, on friday, using the infamous hw quiz. there should be around seven per term, and they last ten to fifteen minutes; key questions from the homework will be chosen and the student (you) has to basically show that they can do it. clearing doubts with teachers and/or colleagues is strongly encouraged, but the teacher will not answer any questions in the class of the actual quiz. i can be found before 7h50 am in room 403 for any doubts. at the end of the term, the lowes hw quiz grade is dropped.

minor and major assessments (quizzes and tests, 70%)
the shorter, around 20-minute quizzes have the goal of providing specific and hopefully useful feedback to a student (you), for purposes of preparation and learning. these quizzes are graded and contain quite a lot of comments from the teacher, but there grade is eventually replaced by the 45 to 60-minute tests. these are usually chapter tests, and preperation for it is ideal if the respective review sets and the quiz or quizzes are used. in the ib classes, all tests will contain at least 50% ib questions, for better preperation. retaking a test is possible, but outside of class hours. the retaking of tests is actually encouraged, since it will hopefully strengthen the students knowledge of that specific content area. these retake tests are (of course) different from the original, and they are never easier. the last evidence is considered the best, so even a lower grade than the original will count, if that were the case.

projects, investigations, modelling, seminars (15-20%, depending on the class)
these vary from shorter presentations to longer investigations, can be in groups or individual, and will vary from class to class.

all of this, of course, has the main goal to make you learn and retain as much as possible, it's the attempt to achieve true understanding. the assessment system in math is designed to do just that, and comments or suggestions are welcome. i do ask you for some patience to see if the system works for you and/or your class; i'm actually quite positive it will.

Monday, August 30, 2010

your week in maths & physics, aug 30 - sep 3

another week, quite a lot to cover...

igcse math grade 10
nine problems today, after a quick chat about the first homework quiz and a reaction to that. the nine problems might finish tomorrow. we will get into the unit circle business, and true bearings should also be started. both of these recquire your full attention and some work at home.
there will be no homework for monday (i'd advise you to work on some problems from pages 325-327), wednesday's homework is from pages 327-330. friday's homework (not in the hw quiz on friday) will be page 331. monday, sep 6, there will be a 20-minute quiz, covering everything up to page 331.

ib math sl grade 11
after the hw quiz today and some feedback on that tomorrow, we will finish the chapter and have a quiz; the quiz will go to page 213, just as the homework from last week.
there will be no hw quiz this week, since we will have a test on friday, sep 3. the test should take 45 minutes. review sets on pages 214-216 are the right place to prepare for that, and will be the basis of thursday's "clear-doubt-session". consider doing review set exercises as your homework for the week.

ib physics grade 11
feedback from the quiz, suvat equations and projectile motion are on the menu today  forces, free-body diagrams and calculating resulting forces using vectors will take up most of our time on thursday, and newton's laws of motion should at least be looked at until friday. expect a test on everything until page 36 in your books for monday, sep 6.

ib math sl grade 12
at the end of tomorrow's class, a little quiz (20 minutes). we will have our test on vector chapter on sep 7. this week's homework will be on pages 326 to 347; i know it sounds like a lot, but it's actually pretty straight forward. please try to do 20-30 minutes every day and come with questions during the week. in class, we will work on some of those exercises and some review set questions, too.

ib physics grade 12
"vocabulary quiz", schrödinger's model and heisenberg's uncertainty principal are on the menu for august 31, alongside some exercises. then we'll have promita's presentation, followed by nuclear physics  (on wednesday/thursday).

Friday, August 27, 2010


this is a reminder to all who still wish to participate in the kicktipp competition, week 2 starts today. some of you are already in, but haven't sent their "bets" yet.

also a reminder for grade 10, to prepare nine problems for the class on monday. don't forget!

reminder for grade 11 math sl, your homework quiz will take place on monday, the quiz on tuesday.

grade 11 physics, if you find some time this weekend, start your research log already; don't forget the graph quiz on monday.

there will be a quiz on tuesday for grade 12 math sl, in preparation for the test next friday.

grade 12 physics, be prepared for a short vocabulary quiz on tuesday.

to all a very nice weekend.

p.s.: sporting highlights this weekend
f1 grand prix of belgium, in spa-francorchamps (best race of the year)
kaiserlautern v bayern, st. pauli v hoffenheim and vfb stuttgart v bvb in the bundesliga
uefa supercup final today in monaco, atletico madrid v internazionale
and on monday, the us open begins, last grand slam of the year.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

igcse maths - exception to the rule: hw presentations monday!

hello sophomores!
i am hereby announcing one exception to the general dealing with homework through hw quizzes. the homework given for friday (choosing 9 problems to solve) will not be checked through the quiz on september 3, but quite a lot earlier. i will have students coming to the board on monday to solve one problem that they've selected (and i will be the one to choose from the nine you were supposed to do). so each one of you will receive a homework grade for their presentation and explanation on the board. if you, by any chance, have not done nine problems until monday, august 30, then i will freely choose your exercise. 
only ten of you will be randomly chosen, the other ten will have a similar activity at a later time. check out the descriptors for the grades on that specific day:
1 - student refuses to solve a problem on the board
2 - student goes to the board, but doesn't seem to know the basics of what to do.
3 - student demonstrates some basic knowledge, but cannot explain how he got to the answer.
4 - student's explanation of how to get to the answer had errors, but was generally correct.
5 - student explained the problem at a satisfactory level.
6 - student explained the problem and was able to capture everyone's attention through his methods.
7 - student did a great job of explaining the problem by envolving everyone, being clear and making the presentation interesting.

you have five days till then, and if you finish the other homework early today, you might want to start with friday's homework already.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

dennis albert wins week one!

two perfect predicitons and two tendencies correct - that was enough for dennis albert (grade 11) to be the first ever weekly chocolate winner in the newly founded isb kicktipp competition. he leads the way in a competition with now ten participants... and maybe growing!
you can now post your tipps for next week's matches.

homework for ib physics classes

this will be an ongoing homework assignment for physics. i would like you to do 90 minutes  of research per week (60 mins for grade 11) on any topics in the ib physics course, past or current.
this research can be reading, audio or audiovisual, and it can be online or in books, dvds, blu-rays or even cds.
please send me a weekly email (by friday of every week, can be earlier, but not later) with the excel document i will send you, always updated. 
i really do believe this will increase our level of debate, knowledge, scientific mind and even interest. i'm looking forward to it.
we will start this on september 3, where i will expect your first email. please send it to mgoncalves@isbremen.de.

specifics for today - ib physics year 12

we will go to the library today, at the beginning of the class, and i want to observe your researching methods while you try to get some information and understanding on the following terms:
  • atomic spectra
  • electron energy levels
  • photoelectric effect
  • light - wave or particle? (debate)
  • photon
  • de broglie hypothesis
promita and aidin, please prepare for a short debate, by defending the idea of light being a wave. bilal and max, you will defend the light being a particle. all of you should try to become aware of why the other can't be right.
please do your best! thanks!

reminder for math sl grade 12

this is to remind you to come back to class on thursday with a list of the syllabus items you feel you haven't quite mastered yet, or you feel most insecure with. this will guide further review sessions until the exam period and give me an idea where to spend more time, and where to spend less. thanks. 
(use the link to the right)

Monday, August 23, 2010

your week in maths & physics - aug 23-27

i hope you all had a weekend as nice as mine (even the werder-fans, after that unfortunate loss...) and count on your focus and work ethics for the new week, our first complete one.

igcse math 10:
we will finish our review today and start into the wonderful world of trigonometry tomorrow! since your homework is organized into days, this is my suggestion for the week. 
monday: read page 314 and do page 315 (exercises 1&2).
wednesday: all exercises in pages 318-321
friday: choose 9 problems to solve on pages 324-327; three from problems 1-9, three from problems 10-18, and three from problems 19-27.
i will leave it to your discretion whether you choose to do all exercises, but please not that you should do a half an hour of work in each of these three days (the first one might be less), and that you should be able to answer all of the questions. we will have a homework quiz on friday, and a first quiz will take place on tueday, august 31.

ib physics 11:
hope you have a nice retreat. please bring calculators and books to each and every class; we will start working with mechanics on thursday, with focus on constant acceleration and graphs of displacement, velocity and acceleration against time... it sounds as fun as it is! we might even get into forces and dynamics on friday. i'm gonna ask you guys to remember and/or read up on newtons law's of motion, as well as possible. on thursday we will begin our series of great physicians, let's see if someone volunteers.

ib maths sl 11:
we will have a look at the beautiful world of the unit circle, with all its marvel and wonder. i'm going to quiz you on the homework, which will be all exercises in pages 202-213. because of the retreat, the homework quiz will only be on monday, august 30. there will be an actual quiz on tuesday, august 31. our first test will be on friday, september 3.

ib physics 12:
atomic spectra, quantum nature of light, photoelectric effect, ionization, even mr heisenberg and his uncertainty principle - all will be studied and hopefully learned next week. we might even get to schrödinger. if you want to, please read up on these things, to be more prepared for class. your homework will be a little seminary, which i will distribute in class.

ib math sl 12:
some more review for today and tomorrow (i'll try to vary things from one day to the other), then the new stuff begins on thursday. from page 312 to 320, all exercises should be either done or dealt with, there will be a homework quiz on friday. so please read those pages even while we are doing our review, and come to class with your questions on thursday. i was hoping to work from page 322 on, starting friday. a quiz might be expected on tuesday, august 31.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

physics year 12 homework

just a reminder to open the syllabus on the link to the right and look at the descriptors of topics 1-6 and 9-11. please bring me a list of those descriptors you feel you have not at all mastered. thanks!

chocolate challenge

this is a post for those who like football... or chocolate!
there is a link on the right side of this blog referring to kicktipp, which, as some of you know, is a program where you can try to guess football scores and get some points out of that.
every week i will select the top matches of the big four leagues plus uefa competitions, and, if you want to, you can tipp away! the weekly winner will receive a nice chocolate (i know, it's just a gesture, the competition is what is fun), and after each season (which will be seven weeks), a little trophy will be given to the winner.
what does this have to do with maths or physics? not much, really, although i will refer to it from time to time in maths. but i love to compete, and i love football; if you do, too, just join us at the link!
you might want to invite certain teachers to get into the action, too...
if you have any questions concerning this, just leave a comment and i'll answer you as soon as i can.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


hello to all!
i'm glad to be here in bremen and looking forward to getting to know you better throughout this new school year.
this blog will be used mainly for the following:
  • information about homework
  • dates and types of assessments (quizzes, hw quizzes, tests, projects, investigations)
  • weekly class plans
  • important and interesting links
 i hope we all learn a lot this year, and that, most of the time, we have a smile on our faces while doing so.