Week of April 29, 2013

This week we move into the last half of the last quarter of the school year!

This week in physics: On Monday we will take our unit 8 test over electric circuits, after which we’ll experience the shocking world of electrostatics! (I know. That was an absolutely terrible pun…sorry.) On Wednesday (3rd and 12th periods) or Thursday (6th period) we will take the End of Course (EOC) test, for which you will need number 2 pencils and your calculator. For Thursday (3rd and 12th periods) or Wednesday (6th period) you should take notes on Electrostatics Podcast 1 – Introduction to Charge for a podcast quiz. We’ll debrief the information from that podcast and then take part in a jigsaw learning activity that will cover methods of charging. After this activity, as directed in your class, you will need to take notes on Electrostatics Podcast 2 – Conductors, Insulators, and Charging, but that likely won’t be until next week.

This week in astronomy: On Monday and Tuesday you will complete your research projects on your planets. Later you will present your information to the class, and we will create a giant solar system jigsaw activity out of it culminating in an open-notes jigsaw quiz. We will also finish covering the motions of the inferior planets. Solar System Podcast 1 – The Motion of the Inferior Planets will support your work.

Cool science of the week: Who doesn’t like gold (Au)? (Come to think of it, who doesn’t like astronomical units (AU) or alternate universes (AU)?) Well, I can’t think of anyone, so enjoy this cool little finding about how earthquakes create gold deposits in an instant!

It caught on in a flash <i>(Image: John Cancalosi/NGS/Corbis)</i>

Week of April 22, 2013

This week in physics: We will continue to practice those wacky compound circuit problems, and we will also explore the final topics related to this unit by taking notes on Electric Circuits Podcast 8 – Electric Power and Electric Circuits Podcast 9 – Circuit Safety Features for a podcast quiz that we will take on Tuesday. We will also begin the final assignment for this unit on Tuesday which will carry us into Wednesday. Expect the unit test on Thursday or Friday. Our end-of-course assessment will take place on your first double lab day next week.

This week in astronomyOn Monday and Tuesday we will finish our exploration of eclipses, and we’ll take the unit test on Wednesday. Then we will turn our attention to some familiar friends: the planets of our solar system! We’ll look at them from a different perspective, though, in that our initial focus will be on how they appear to move in our sky.

Cool science of the week: This one will truly spark your imagination! This month’s National Geographic is stirring up wonder and controversy with its focus on de-extinction, a process by which we can bring extinct species back to life! Imagine vast areas full of woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, or dodo birds. Is it possible? It’s been done, actually, although with limited success so far. Is it ethical? That’s the controversy. Read about it!

Week of April 15, 2013

This week in physicsEntering the final phase of our study of electric circuits, we will complete assignment 3 together in class on Monday/Tuesday followed by a quiz the day after we finish. Next you should view and take notes on Podcast 7 – Compound Circuits by the due date announced in your class so that you’re ready for the podcast quiz. We’ll spend a good amount of time practicing problems with compound circuits, and then you should view and take notes on Podcast 8 – Electric Power and
Podcast 9 – Circuit Safety Features by the due date announced in your class so that you’re ready for that podcast quiz. When we’ve completed these things, we will complete assignment 4 in class. That will bring us to the unit 8 test! This will definitely spill well into next week depending on how much practice we need with compound circuits. NOTE: The day after our unit 8 test, we will take a comprehensive test to give us information about our growth this year. This test will take two class periods.

This week in astronomy: We will continue to examine solar eclipses in detail by completing a project together in class followed by a mega-quiz. Eclipses Podcast 2 – Solar Eclipses will support your studying. Following that, we’ll explore lunar eclipses with a project, in-class activities and notes, and a quiz. Eclipses Podcast 3 – Lunar Eclipses will support your work. We’ll either end the week with the unit 4 test or start next week with it. NOTE: Regarding the unit 1 outdoor lab and the unit 2 outdoor lab: With the exception of spring break, we have continued to have unusually cloudy weather this entire semester. It is still worthwhile to do these labs because they are interesting, relevant, and, at this point, will help you prepare for the final. However, every due date I set needs to be pushed back because of the weather. For example, here’s what’s coming:


Therefore, I am giving us two more weeks with the hope that we’re going to get a break. I’m watching the weather. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday should give you opportunities for the unit 2 lab, which requires repeated measurements over a series of days. Deadline: May 1. GET GOING.

Cool Science of the Week: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, currently visiting the International Space Station, is making news for his fun, viral Tweets. Check out this video about making PB&J in space! His Twitter feed from space is full of fantastic views from the ISS along with other weird tweets about life in space. He also has a killer mustache.