Inspired by Dan Meyer’s blog post on his new Twitter meme, #anyqs, I started our unit on energy with this demonstration:

I asked students to write down any questions that came to mind. Here’s what they said:

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I would have had the students investigate their own questions and then share with the class, but I only have 2 slingshots. So we did it as a whole class demonstration. I also tweeted out the demo using the #anyqs hashtag. Your responses were similar to my students. Here they are, with the new demo modifications and outcomes:

@fnoschese "How far will the block get pushed if the bands are moved forward?"

The adding/removing of books was most perplexing to students and it was a great lead-in to the concept of energy conservation. The rest of the lesson was pure pseudoteaching, as I started throwing terms at them like kinetic energy, gravitational potential energy, and elastic potential energy. (No formulas yet, though.) I’m really bad at running effective whole-class discussions, so if anyone has any tips, fill me in!