Extra Credit Assignments For Physical Science

This is my second time trying to write this post.  The first went so far off topic that it is banished to the unpublished file until it behaves itself.

As I mentioned before, I’m on the fence with extra credit.  I’m now totally convinced that anything purchased for extra credit is just plain wrong.  I don’t think there is a gray area here.  No pay-for-points.  I’ll play the benefit to society game because the results outweigh the costs.  I will provide extra credit when it works to my advantage.  If the students correctly answer their WebAssign problems 48 hours before the due date of 8am Monday morning, there is a 10% bonus.  For a very few extra points, I get far fewer Sunday night emails.  Instead, they want the extra credit, so they bring in the problem during school and ask for guidance.  The result is they are looking at the work early in the week rather than waiting until the last minute.  Am I tricking them into better study habits?  I’ll take that.

I do like the idea that extra credit is for work above and beyond the norm.  This brings me back to where I am right now, with a lot of kids in bad shape as the end of the quarter nears.  My fear is that the normal grade distribution will be badly shifted by an extra credit assignment.  I am a big fan of a normal curve, with an average at a C+.  I give challenging tests and curve up to make the class average about 77%.  The A’s earn their A’s, as do the F’s.

So what is an appropriate extra credit assignment?  Here are a few ideas I’m thinking about:

  • A 2000 word research paper on a Nobel prize winner in physics and the impact of the discovery on our every day life.
  • A video that teaches a physics concept, done so that I can use it in class.  It should be scripted, edited, and several minutes long.
  • For less points – Creation or redesign of a lab for use in future classes.

None of these can be group projects; they must all be individual efforts.  Points awarded for this level of effort should be valued at about 5% of the total quarterly points.

I’m right at the point where I need to assign these if I’m going to allow extra credit.  The quarter ends in about 12 days.  I could use some feedback.

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Tags: Extra Credit

                                              Extra Credit Projects (worth 10 points each)




Steps for doing extra credit.

1. Create a new Google doc and title it "Extra Credit #..."

2. Share it with me ( kmh15@scasd.org ). Make sure you send an email notifying me that you have shared it with me or I will not know that you have completed extra credit.




Project #1

Find two current health related articles that you find interesting. List the name of the source, and the date for each article. Tell me what you learned from each article (minimum of five sentences each). Use complete sentences.

Project #2

Write a one page essay about why you think our ability to make choices is the thing that has the greatest impact on our health.

Project #3

Write a one page essay about something you learned during the Mental & Emotional Wellness unit. Tell me why you think the information will have a positive impact on your life.

Project #4

Check out the web site listed below. Tell me ten facts you learned while exploring the site. Also write at least one thought/reflection/reaction of your own for each fact. Use complete sentences.


Project #5

Write a poem, story, or song about the dangers of alcohol, or the negative impact alcohol abuse has on our society.

Project #6

Learn more about Alateen. Write a one page essay about what you learned.

Project #7

Use the links listed below to learn more about the following sexually transmitted diseases (std's): chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Explain how common each disease is, what the signs and symptoms are, what complications can occur, and how to treat them. Use complete sentences.


Genital Herpes

Template for this project

Afteropening the template please make a copy of it and follow the instructions at the top of this page for submitting your work.

Project #8

Check out the web site listed below. Use the "Your Disease Risk" section at the top, left part of the page to evaluate YOUR risk of developing 2 different diseases. For this assignment you need to go through and answer the questions for each disease, and then tell me 1. what your risk of having that particular disease is, 2. some things you could do better to prevent yourself from getting it, and 3. some things you're already doing that lower your risk.




Template for this project


Afteropening the template please make a copy of it and follow the instructions at the top of this page for submitting your work.




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