Day 50: Clock Reaction


IS II students collectively investigated how concentration affects the rate of a chemical reaction. Using acetone, HCl, iodine, and distilled water the students varied the acetone volume (5, 10, 20 mL) vs the water voume (25, 20, 10 mL) and kept the HCl and iodine at 10 mL. Results were spectacular. The students built a lab report from the ground up on Google Drive as we did the lab. Graphing will be done with Logger Pro.

Day 49: Chrome Books


All 9th graders this year received chrome books. There are ubiquitous at lunch and a couple of students play chess each day. Today that gave me a chance to talk to them about the documentary, Brooklyn Castle. Some do school work, some watch movies, some play games. All 8th graders also have them and next year the 11th graders will get them.

Day 48: Five Minute Field Trip


As we start our unit on eclipses I try to take the Astronomy students outside for a 5 minute field trip on a clear sunny day. We all don solar eclipse glasses and take a look at the sun. Most are amazed to see how small the actual disk is in the sky. They are much better able to understand how the Moon and the Sun occupy the same space in the sky and how the Moon could eclipse the sun. I had the glasses made in 2012 for the transit of Venus so they are in our school colors and even have our mascot on the temple.

Day 47: Modeling Microscopic Collisions


We just finished with momentum and macroscopic collisions and this activity (two different size BBs in sealed petri dishes) is a nice bridge between those and microscopic collisions. At the end the students are able to better see how changing temperature (increase the shake frequency) and concentration (2nd petri dish has double the BBs) affects the number of collisions in a chemical reaction. Later this week we will look at an acetone-HCl-iodine clock reaction and how these two variables affect the rate of the reaction.

Day 45: Spontaneous Momentum


IS II students are learning about momentum. My planning period is before I see my three classes of IS II each day. It hits me that this might be a good idea. I quickly filled out post-it notes and had each student pick one up on the way in. They had to determine if they were a mass or a velocity. I then called out momentum values and they had to pair or triple up to match the number. “I need a p = 50 kg x m/s . . . go!” Students figured out that sometimes they could (or had to) pair or triple up with other masses. It was a quick way to see if they got the idea of p=mv.

Day 44: Thanks Dave

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Thanks Dave (Mr. Black). Today we finished up our discussion of the development of the origin of the Moon theories and I used these great drawings done by Dave Black a former colleague. Dave did this as an overhead–it was scanned and made into a pdf to import into a Smart Notebook page. I can add notes to the drawings on the Smart board and save the file for absent students. Dave would be amazed! I worked with Dave for 10 years until his retirement in 2003 (at age 56 and 35 years of teaching). Dave was an artistically creative teacher who made the coolest paper models for students to build (coastal geology, alpine glaciers, cave morphology to name a few). He passed away suddenly in 2006 and we all miss him. Every time I use one of Dave’s diagrams or models I am reminded of his love of Earth and Space science.

Day 42: Tears Shed


The second half of the period was a serious introduction to momentum (meaning, equation, sample problems). The first half consisted of the ESPN video on the story of Preston Plevretes, a former college football player affected profoundly by second impact syndrome. It is a tough 12 minutes to watch and I purposely keep the lights dim for awhile as students discuss it as there are often tears shed. You could hear a pin drop while the video plays. Students often mention that this should be viewed by athletes BEFORE the season starts as they would be more likely to report concussion symptoms.

Day 41: What’s the Matter?


IS I students reviewed the concept of matter and how we classify it. In our department we use these sets of petri dishes to help all students (use in IS I and in Chemistry classes) understand the differences between pure substances and mixtures and between elements and compound. In each dish are beads, some separate (elements), some wired together (molecules), and some of both (mixtures).