Day 99: Flappy Bird and Logger Pro


In IS II, students are using Logger Pro to analyze motion in two dimensions. Flappy Bird is all the craze (I tweeted that if Flappy Birds = learning that my students would be geniuses by week’s end). With impeccable timing, a physics teacher (and part of my PLN) in CT blogged about the real physics behind Flappy Bird. He included d-t and v-t graphs; exactly what we have been studying for the past two weeks!

Day 98: Venus Rising


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Mentioned to my astronomy students that Venus was clearly visible this morning before 7 am. I took a photo with my phone to show them how easy it is to do that and then showed them how they could confirm on Stellarium what they might be seeing in the sky. They were (of course) impressed.

Day 95: Internet Down – Call the President


Just before the last period of the day, the internet goes down. All students are working on their lab reports on Google Drive so we are dead in the water. I figured we’d get a head start on the next activity by white boarding hypotheses about the shape of d-t and v-t graphs for a tennis ball rolling up and the down a ramp (motion sensor at the bottom).

Day 94: Terminal Velocity II


Students in IS II used LoggerPro and the motion sensors to find the terminal velocity of falling coffee filters. Graphing was done on LoggerPro and lab reports were written on Google Drive and then submitted electronically for grading and commenting. Graphs were inserted into the report by “screen shooting” them. Students must also submit a self-scored copy of the lab grading rubric found on the class Moodle. Anyone who thinks education in 2014 is the same as it was when I was in high school (1975-1978) is nuts.

Day 92: The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets


Snow day yesterday and 2 hour delay today, students pulled from class to retake Biology Keystone exams and somehow the remaining students did some great work. IS I looked at the physical properties of minerals, IS II gathered data by timing dropped coffee filters, and my new astronomy students learned the basics of using Stellarium. The topic of conversation among my peers was initiated by me as I gushed about reading the book shown above. It simply is one of the most enjoyable books I have read. I am only 5 chapters into it but it figures to be the best book I’ve read in a long, long time. If I could figure out a way to wrap a course around it I would!

Day 91: Hair Dryer in the Bathtub


OK.  I got your attention. Today in IS I we started the chapter on atomic structure and bonding with an ENGAGE activity focusing on electrical conductivity. Four solutions were tested using a crude conductivity device (light bulb) for qualitative data and a conductivity probe for quantitative data. We all had to look up microsiemens/cm as the unit for electrical conductivity! The cards in front of the beakers are mixed up on purpose as we figured out what was in each beaker. We discussed the danger of electrical devices near water and how the body makes the solution salty.

Day 90: Astronomy “Misconceptions” and Jay Leno

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First day of the new semester = the first day with my new class of astronomy students. Nice for them and for me to have a fresh start halfway through the year. After introductions, seat assignments, attendance, book distribution (and reading assignment), and Edmodo instructions, the students take a quick paper and pencil “quiz” on some astronomy basics. The same questions are those asked in the classic Jay Leno video that I finally found online! We all have a good laugh. Nice way to break the ice and have some fun.