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My No Fun Class
Old 03-27-2019, 01:09 PM
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This is my first year being a full time teacher. I teach physics. No matter what I do, I have one class that refuses to have fun... or speak. No matter how engaged or thrilled the other sections are this one section refuses to crack a smile. This class is a regular level class, the same as my other sections.

We made water bottle rockets and shot them off in the practice field. The entire time they sat in the bleachers or grass and picked grass. This was a group project and the class days they had to work on their rockets involved them just staring at each other with only a few words shared between them. Some of the groups made separate rockets at home and did nothing in class.

I have tried fun individual activities and that got about the same results. I had the students build a ramp to launch a ping pong ball a set distance. They worked at their lab benches in complete silence. On testing day, not a single student seemed excited when their ping pong ball made it in the cup or even frustrated when they missed.

It is honestly so hard to lecture in that class as well. Try to pull feedback or asking questions gets you blank stares. If I ever call on one of them they just get mad and whisper the answer. It feels like I am teaching to mannequins.

This led me to believe it was issues with communicating or maybe none of them are competitive. So I had them do a virtual lab instead of a physical lab. This upset the other classes but I have to teach the same lesson for all of them because of school policy. The virtual lab however was no more successful. Despite the fun animations and game-like nature of the lab it did not spark a smile on any of their faces.

At the advice of a colleague, I made them do a class presentation on a famous physicist. This was supposed to force them to talk. It was a short 3-5 minute presentation done in groups of threes. This resulted in class period of them presenting slides while saying a word or two. The longest presentation was 2 minutes.

The current lab we are working on is building large paper roller coasters. This is a lab I did in school and loved. My over sections are going crazy over the project. Especially because there is prizes for the coolest coasters. My "no fun class" however has decided this is time to sit silently and stare at me. When I walk around and ask them what they are doing? If I get an answer it was "nothing".

I am honestly over my head. I just don't know what to do. They do well on tests and busy work but them not doing labs is hurting them. Any advice?

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