Week of September 2, 2013

Welcome to a short but terrific week! I’ve had a few people ask me about the playability of the podcasts on Mac computers. I’ve tested it out (and am, in fact, writing on a Mac right now :)), and everything is working. My suggestion is to check for updates if you’re having trouble. Please keep me posted. 🙂

This Week in Physics
We will conduct our first experiment, the Analysis of Uniform Motion Lab, early in the week. We will then spend time at the end of the week in the computer lab to learn how to write our lab reports. By Wednesday you should take notes on Podcast 4 – Slope of Position vs. Time Equals Velocity.

This Week in AP Physics
** Your lab report on the Uniform vs. Accelerated Motion experiment is due on Friday at the start of class. The Lab Report Writing Guide – AP Physics and Lab Report Rubric – AP Physics are your guides. Be sure to turn your report in as a hard copy on Friday and upload by Monday (next week’s Monday) to TurnItIn.com.
** On Monday and into Tuesday we will continue to practice interpreting graphs of the kinematic values as a function of time. A fun website to give you conceptual practice is Moving Man Website. (Be sure to click the “Charts” tab at the top to see the graphs.) After we’ve conquered these graph interpretation skills, we’ll examine the kinematic equations dealing with displacement, velocity, acceleration, and time and will work with some awesome physics problems. It’s a short week, but hopefully by the end of the week we will conduct our second lab, which deals with the Acceleration due to Gravity. Anticipate the unit test next week. 🙂

This Week in Astronomy
We will return to the planetarium to share what we’ve learned about our constellations and to do our final practice exercises with star mapping. Anticipate a quiz on Wednesday or Thursday over star mapping skills. Podcast 1 – Star Mapping will support your studying. Next we will examine how and why the sky changes throughout a day and will turn our attention to a prominent mapping line, the celestial equator. We will also begin to analyze changes to the sky as we travel north/south on the globe and will create sky sketches called meridian diagrams. Fun! 🙂

Cool Science of the Week
As the saying goes, “Men are from Mars; women are from Venus” …or are we all from Mars? An American chemist this week has posited that Earth did not have the chemicals necessary for life to begin here, and therefore life could only have come to Earth by hitchhiking on a meteor. This reminds me of last spring’s announcement by NASA that the Curiosity Rover found the building blocks for life on Mars. (Disclaimer: I’m not saying we’re all Martians. :))