Week of October 1, 2012

It’s October already! Time is flying fast as we enter the last four weeks of the first quarter, which ends on October 26!

This week in physics: Due to the preponderance of tests in other classes, we moved our unit 1 test to this Monday, October 1. Here are important resources to help you study over the weekend:

With the test on Monday, we’ll have lots of time left in the week to work on Unit 2: Motion in Two Dimensions. Here’s how to begin. Watch and take notes on the following podcasts by Tuesday.

We’ll practice vector addition problems with the ActivExpressions a whole bunch and then do assignment fun 1 in class. Following that we’ll take a quiz. By the day of that quiz, you should be ready for the next set of learning goals, so watch and take notes on the following podcasts:

It seems like a lot; I know. Really it’s manageable. It will be a nice week. Not to worry! 🙂

This week in astronomyWe will be doing a lot of activities to support our study of The Ecliptic Motion of the Sun, unit 2. We’ll do most of these activities in class. They include Equinoxes and Solstices around the WorldEarth’s Tilt and the Equinoxes and Solstices, and a lab about Solar Radiation. (These documents are not available to you online. You’ll receive copies in class and on our student server here at school.) This is a very quick unit, so expect a test sometime next week. Please be sure to check out the Astronomy Unit 2 – Readings to help support your learning. The day before the test, the Astronomy Unit 2 – Homework Questions will be due. The Astronomy Unit 2 – Outdoor Lab won’t be due for a few weeks because it requires you to take observations over an extended period of time. We’ll go over the instructions in class, but it should be on your radar for now.

Cool Science of the WeekCheck out the fun page from the xkcd crew! They answer a new “What if?” question about physics every Tuesday. This week’s installment asks if we could make the moon brighter by aiming laser pointers at it!

A special “thank you!’ goes out to Beth Cruz for sending this in!

Week of September 24, 2012

This week in physics: Greetings! 🙂 In class on Monday we will do assignment 4 over the kinematic equations (podcast 7 and podcast 8) followed by a quiz the next day. Then Podcast 9 – Introduction to Free FallPodcast 10 – Free Fall Sample Problems, and Podcast 11 – Terminal Velocity will be due, followed by our final unit assignment, assignment 5. Expect the unit one test at the end of the week. Your study guide is the Motion in One Dimension – Unit Overview. Other resources include the podcasts, the Moving Man Website, and The Physics Classroom Animations we used in class. Start studying early for best results! 🙂

This week in astronomy: Greetings! 🙂 On Monday and Tuesday we will finish the Celestial Travel Agency project to prepare for Wednesday’s test over Unit 1. Start reviewing early using the Astronomy Unit 1 – Unit Overview document as your study guide. Remember to watch the podcasts and then draw meridian diagrams for various latitudes to help you prepare. I also recommend downloading (free!) Stellarium and playing with it the way we did in class. On Thursday we will begin our second unit, The Ecliptic Motion of the Sun, by doing research on the sun’s positions at various times of the year. By analyzing the data from this research, we will establish our understanding of the sun’s varying path in the sky from month to month.

Cool Science of the Week: Scientists have found a creature, the Tardigrade, or “water bear”, that survives the harsh conditions of outer space. Noting also that its anatomy is very unlike the anatomy of any other animal, these results have prompted scientists to ask whether the creature actually is from outer space! Yikes! (Disclaimer: I am not a fan of sending critters into outer space to see if they survive. 🙁 )

Week of September 17, 2012

This week in physicsWe will take a quiz over the concepts related to velocity that we covered in podcast 3, podcast 4, the Analysis of Uniform Motion lab, and assignment 1. (Note: If you are in 6th period, you already took this quiz on Friday.) We will continue to look deeply into the concepts related to acceleration found in podcast 5 and podcast 6 by analyzing graphs of motion both with Moving Man and with an activity using PASCO. We’ll do assignment 2 and 3 in class in the middle of the week followed by a quiz. Next we’ll amp up the math by exploring the kinematic equations. To prepare you’ll watch and take notes on Motion in One Dimension Podcast 7 – Introduction to Kinematic Equations and Motion in One Dimension Podcast 8 – Kinematic Equations Sample Problem as homework (due date TBA.) Next week look for us to finish the chapter through our exploration of free fall. Be ready for a test at the end of next week. IMPORTANT: (CAPS LOCK IS ON!!!) IF YOU DO NOT HAND IN YOUR EXTRA MATH PRACTICE BY THIS MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, YOU WILL RECEIVE AN INCOMPLETE FOR EVERY ASSIGNMENT UNTIL YOU HAND IN THE EXTRA MATH PRACTICE ASSIGNED TO YOU AND EARN AT LEAST A 90%. You must master these skills to be ready for the kinematic equations. (Parents and Guardians, if you see a “Missing” or a score of 8 or lower in Gradebook Wizard for this assignment, your child has not fully completed the assignment.)

This week in astronomy: On Monday we will take a quiz over the celestial equator, celestial north pole, and the circumpolar stars. Two podcasts will help you prepare: Celestial Sphere Podcast 2 – Celestial Equator and Celestial North Pole and Celestial Sphere Podcast 3 – Circumpolar Stars Next we’ll explore diurnal and annual motion of the celestial sphere and differentiate between a siderial day and a solar day, exploring how this difference affects the stars we see. We’ll take a quiz over that topic and then spend 15 seconds exploring the teeny tiny concept of star magnitude. Spilling into next week, we’ll wrap up this unit with a culminating project, The Celestial Travel Agency in which you’ll practice creating meridian diagrams to express how a tourist would experience the sky differently at different latitudes. Expect a test late next week. 🙂

Cool science of the week: Snow on Mars?!? It seems that Mars, too, enjoys the quiet sweetness of snowfall! If you enjoy carbon dioxide snow (also known as dry ice, or the awesome stuff you can put in a cauldron to make it look cool on Halloween) then Mars may be the place for you!

Week of September 10, 2012

Hello, Most Excellent Students!

This week in physics: We will practice analyzing graphs of motion using a sweet online app, and then we’ll work our way through assignment one (Motion in One Dimension – Assignmentsin class. Via the flipped classroom method, you won’t be doing this on your own at home unless you don’t finish during our class time. We’ll collaborate, and I’ll be around to help you, so we’ll be just fine! As soon as we finish, the very next day you’ll have your first physics quiz, which will cover all aspects of velocity that we’ve explored. Remember that your average test/quiz score counts as 50% of your quarter grade, so please give emphasis to studying for this quiz. Following that you should watch and take notes on Motion in One Dimension Podcast 5 – Introduction to Acceleration and Motion in One Dimension Podcast 6 – Acceleration Signs vs. Velocity Signs as homework. We’ll answer questions you have about those podcasts and then dive straight into assignments two and three, followed again by a quiz perhaps late this week or early next. We’ll also run a quick lab (no lab report) in class. IMPORTANT: Your “Speedster” lab reports are due on Wednesday and must be uploaded to www.TurnItIn.com by Friday at 3:00. When adding this class to your TurnItIn account you’ll need to use the class ID, which is 5463766, and the password, which is physicsrules. Finally, we’re really about to step up the math significantly next week. If you haven’t done your assignment (if any) on the Extra Math Help Information and Practice Page, you should do it. It’s important that you’re ready! 🙂 (PARENTS and GUARDIANS, PLEASE NOTE: If you see anything other than an “excused” or a 10/10 on this assignment in GBW, your student has not fully completed the assignment.)

This week in astronomy: We’ll start drawing a lot of meridian diagrams for a wide variety of terrestrial latitudes and explore the diurnal (daily) motion of the Earth and how it affects our experience of the sky. We’ll follow that with a mighty quiz. Next we’ll explore the annual motion of the Earth and how it affects our experience of the sky. You should begin the Astronomy Unit 1 – Outdoor Lab as early as possible this week after we’ve gone over the circumpolar stars (Monday.) It requires you to go outside over a period of three hours on a clear night. It will be due next Monday, September 17. If you wait too long, you might not find a good night to do it, so on the first clear night you’re free, please get started. 🙂

Cool science of the week: Again, there is too much from which to choose! I can’t pick just one, so here are three:

  • ASTEROID NAMING CONTEST!!! NASA is about to send a probe to an asteroid that’s currently called (101955) 1999 RQ36. This asteroid is ashamed of its name, feeling that it’s overly-technical and doesn’t reflect its solid personality. Therefore it has requested a new “Rock Star Name”. If you think of the best name, you’ll be a part of NASA history. That would rock.

Have a great week! 🙂