Day 172: Solar System to Scale

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Astronomy students using adding machine paper to scale out the solar system using 10 cm = 1 AU. They soon figured out that the Oort Cloud would be nearly 3 miles away!

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Day 171: Density Tanks

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After losing the seniors, we worked on a neat lab that I used to use when teaching meteorology. I used it to show how warm and cold air met along a frontal boundary. I used it today to reinforce how ocean water density is affected by temperature. The students loved the lab. Lots of Snapchat videos and photos of the warm water sliding over the sinking cold water and smiling students. They replaced the divider and then mixed one side to create warm purple water. They were so interested to see what happened when the divider was removed and were amazed when it wedged between the red and blue water.

Day 150: Physics – Project Based Learning

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OK, I admit that this photo is not of my class. My classes did more of the same today so photos would just be repeats. I had reason to stop by a colleagues class to see his Honor Physics students working on their own Van de Graaff generators. They even had a full-size drill press set up in the classroom. The pressure was on as the device HAD to work. Loved to see a student wearing his miniTHON shirt nearly two months after the event! Can’t wait for miniTHON2015.

Day 147: Planet Configurations – Inferior Vocabulary

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Students in astronomy were introduced to the confusing vocabulary of planetary configurations. Inferior vs. superior planets goes just fine, but things get troublesome when they find that an inferior planet can be in inferior conjunction or superior conjunction and that a superior planet can be in conjunction (note no inferior or superior here) or opposition. This simulation from U of Nebraska-Lincoln helps a lot.

Day 131: Not My Fault, Your Fault (Model)

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After our stratigraphy studies we move on to faults. I love telling them about left (sinistral) and right (dextral) lateral faults and the origins of the terms. Students build their own small models that they can manipulate to show normal, reverse, lateral, and oblique faults. They can easily see if the land lengthens or shortens and therefore what type of forces might cause the faulting. I always ask what happens to the river when flowing SW and there is a normal fault and it gives me a chance to say, “what did the fish say when it swam into the concrete wall? . . . . .