Differentiation is a buzz word in my district. Finding ways to adapt lessons to address a variety of learning styles and learning paces. Creating problems and activities that allow all students to engage and work at a level that is appropriate to them. Differentiation... students working at different rates, different slopes.
It is a fairly simple task to remove complexity from a problem. It is another thing altogether to create a simple learning activity that still challenges students to think, wrestle and learn. An activity with more than one entry point that will allow struggling students to tackle the same basic concepts while advanced students apply those concepts in challenging contexts. Different learning slopes.
How this will apply in my physics classes next year? Most students who take physics would be classified as advanced. But, as I transition to a modeling-based method of teaching, I wonder how the variety of learning styles will respond. I wonder how many different learning slopes will be needed to ensure all students are successful.