Which One Doesn't Belong? Concept Builder is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Concept Builder can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

For many Physics teachers, the year begins with a short unit that investigates the various patterns of relationships between variables. Part of the goal of such a unit is to acquire the skills necessary to investigate laboratory data for a couple of variables so as to identify the mathematical relationship between those variables. This skill includes being able to relate the various representations that are used to relate variables, such as verbal statements, mathematical equations, tabular data, and graphs.

For some time now, The Physics Classrooms has perceived their role as being supportors of students, teachers, and classrooms as they seek to understand and teach the concepts of Physics. To that end, we have produced this Concept Builder with the hopes of supporting classrooms who are attempting to understand the various patterns or relationships between variables. This Concept Builder is intended for use near the early to middle stages of a learning cycle on numerical relationships between data. The Concept Builder presents three to four representations relating the generic variables x and y. Students must carefully analyze those representations and use their understanding of the various data patterns in order to identify the one relationship that is not like the others. In other words, they must determine which representation doesn't belong. A careful analytic eye, good conceptual reasoning skills, and an attention to detail will be required to be successful with this activity.
This Concept Builder is intended as an in-class activity. After some discussion and development of the numerical patterns among data, allow students an opportunity to interact with the questions. The Concept Builder includes two levels of difficulty. Teachers using the Concept Builder with their classes should preview the activity (or view the Questions in the separate file) in order to judge which levels would be most appropriate for their students. Each question presents three to four representations to students; they must identify which one is not consistent with the others; that is, which one doesn't belong.

Our summary of the three levels is as follows:
  • Master Level (easiest): Includes four question groups. Each question includes four representations. Representations include words, x-y graphs, and x-y data tables.
  • Wizard Level (most difficult): Includes eight question groups - the four from the Masters level plus four new ones. Each question includes three to four representations. Representations include words, mathematical equations, x-y graphs, and x-y data tables.
We can imagine it being profitable to allow students to make judgements as to what level to begin with and to progress from easiest to the more difficult level. 


In order to complete a level, a student must correctly answer one question from each question group at that level. If a student's answer is incorrect, then the student will have to correctly answer the same or very similar question twice in order to successfully complete the level. This approach provides the student extra practice on questions for which they exhibited difficulty. As a student progresses through a level, a system of stars and other indicators are used to indicate progress on the level. A star is an indicator of correctly answering a question from within that question group. Once a star is earned, that question group is removed from the que of question groups to be analyzed. Each question group is color-coded with either a yellow or a red box. A red box indicates that the student has incorrectly analyzed the question and will have to correctly answer it twice before earning a star. A yellow box is an indicator that the situation must be correctly answered one time in order to earn a star. Once every question group at a level has been answered, the student earns a medal which is displayed on the Main Menu. This system of stars and medals allows a teacher to easily check-off student progress or offer credit for completing assigned levels.

The most valuable (and most overlooked) aspect of this Concept Builder is the Help Me! feature. Each question group is accompanied by a Help page that discusses the specifics of the question. This Help feature transforms the activity from a question-answering activity into a concept-building activity. The student who takes the time to use the Help pages can be transformed from a guesser to a learner and from an unsure student to a confident student. The "meat and potatoes" of the Help pages are in the sections titled "How to Think About This Situation:" Students need to be encouraged by teachers to use the Help Me! button and to read this section of the page. A student that takes time to reflect upon how they are answering the question and how an expert would think about the situation can transform their naivete into expertise.