Week of December 10, 2012

We’re entering the last 2.5 weeks of the semester at top speed!

This week in physics: On Monday we will quickly tie up the loose ends of our exploration of the dynamics and related kinematics of Newton’s Second Law. We will also enjoy a quick conceptual exploration of Newton’s Third Law and assignment 6. On Tuesday we’ll take a quiz over Newton’s Second Law. This will complete Unit 3, which brings us to a decision. I don’t want the Friction Lab to be due on the same day as the unit test, so each class can decide whether to postpone the lab or the test until Thursday. If a class postpones the test, then that class will begin the energy unit a day early. Based on each class’s decision, the following podcasts to begin Unit 4 – Energy will be due either on Wednesday or Thursday. These podcasts are:

Following our exploration of these types of energy, we will do assignment one from this unit. A quiz will likely occur the following week.

IMPORTANT: For the lab that is due this week, please be sure to read the blog entry from the week of December 3rd for important instructions and information.

This week in astronomy: On Monday and Tuesday we’ll do our group presentations on Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. (If you are absent the day your group presents, you will need to do an alternate assignment. See me for details.) We’ll take a quiz over the planets on Wednesday and complete our study of the solar system unit by exploring asteroids, comets, and meteoroids/meteors/meteorites. Expect a test by the end of the week.

Cool Science of the WeekNASA has just released a free app called “Earth as Art” to share some of the beautiful images taken by satellites over the  years. I like the idea of Earth being art. Color me cheesey.

Speaking of beautiful satellite images, check out this video of the Earth at night, compiled by NASA from one of its satellites. While you watch it, think about the direction the satellite must be traveling relative to the Earth’s rotation. That will make it even more fun and science-y. 🙂

Finally, there’s much ado these days about planetary and galactic alignments, the Mayan calendar, and the winter solstice. We’ll look at that from a science perspective next week, but in the meantime, did you know you can create an online countdown clock for any event? There’s also a link on that page to a site where you can calculate the number of days between any two events, like how many days between the day you were born and today. Seems fun! 🙂