This is my fourth year teaching high school physics. As you become a more seasoned teacher, you learn to adjust your instruction based upon the needs and interests of your students. When I taught physics for the first time I would present a concept by creating a keynote that introduced the academic vocabulary to my students and I would have them take scaffolded notes on their iPads. However, I realized this was not best practice because it was boring. My students would complete the guided notes out of a sense of dutiful compliance but they never really achieved high levels of engagement.
Flipping the Keynote
Fast forward a few years. Not only do I discover that my students have a great love of game based learning but they also enjoy authentic formative assessment as a means of grappling with new content. My students love doing project based assessments (formative or summative) on the iPad. They really enjoy using the Keynote app.
This year I started using the game Angry Birds as a tool to teach physics, this has been done and well documented by many other physics teachers. One day I had a series of content related vocabulary words and I wanted to dipstick and see how familiar my students were with these vocab words so I could adjust my instruction accordingly. I put the 10 vocabulary words on the board. I asked my students not only to define the words in their Keynote, but to find a picture of the game Angry Birds which clearly demonstrated the physics concept. I was truly impressed with the results of this formative assessment.
I never want my students to wonder how something we learn in school applies to their own world. Games like a Angry Birds are quite popular with this demographic, part of the Gen Z reality. Thanks to Keynote and Angry Birds, my Generation Z students were able to show how physics works in Angry Birds Land and apply that knowledge the real world as well.