Day 8: School Picture Day

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We had a two hour block in the morning to take school photos (for IDs, school attendance, and parents). Each department was given some latitude to do something fun for the yearbook so we (science) all did our best Patch Adams. Students loved it! They got to see that we can have some fun and be silly sometimes. In our two hours with our advisory group we watched this video and then discussed many of the same questions. Great fun as well!

Day 7: First Day in Planetarium

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My one elective class is astronomy with 15 students in grades 9-12. So far they have been the hardest working astronomy class I have had. After a couple of days in the classroom (using Stellarium and discussing seasons) we had class in the planetarium for the first time. We covered Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, and Draco. The students learned how to find Polaris and were surprised (as always) to learn it is not a particularly bright star. Our planetarium was built in 1970 and houses a 30′ dome and a Spitz A4 projector.

Day 6: Graphing with Logger Pro

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IS II students measured a number of circular items and used Logger Pro to graph the diameter vs the circumference. We were able to discuss error in measuring, slope, correlation coefficient, and graphing requirements. This was a nice introduction to the graphing ability of Logger Pro. Student enjoyed finding items around the room that I had not had in mind (telescope, wristwatch, stool, Secchi disk).

Day 5: Stellarium

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I can’t tell you in words how much I love Stellarium. My astronomy (elective) students begin the year figuring out the maximum sun angle, compass direction of sunrise and sunset, and length of day on the equinoxes and the solstices. We are able to chat about the seasons and what causes them. For those who finish early I have them investigate the total solar eclipse of 8/21/2017 by setting Stellarium to that date and a location in the path of totality.

Day 4: Bouncy Balls II – How Did They Do?

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The students had one chance to drop their ball (see Day 3). The 3×5 cards had the rebound height in cm. We used a regular digital camera, imported the clip into iMovies and then watched them frame by frame (we figured at 30 fps). The student were able to figure out that the focus was not an issue as the ball’s vertical velocity was zero at the apex! The golf balls actually could be seen “spinning” at the top (slight rotation). The photos show a racquetball 1/10 second before maximum height, maximum height, and then 1/10 second after maximum height. This group actually had the worst results (many nailed it) yet they still enjoyed the activity and got something out of it.

Day 3: Bouncy Balls

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Students in IS II (second year Integrated Science) were give bouncy balls and had to determine the coefficient of restitution (they did not know this at the time). On Monday I will give them a rebound height and they get one chance to determine a drop height and then drop it for the entire class. We actually had small group discussions about independent and dependent variables and linear vs. non-linear relationships, and we have not even handed out books, looked at the syllabus, or reviewed classroom procedures.