Week of January 28, 2013

Welcome to another great week in the world of science!

This week in physics: First of all, remember that your 5-7 sentence paragraph describing what you discovered about your own personal learning goal for the energy unit is due Monday. Having conquered the topic of energy, we now cruise forward at top velocity into Unit 5 – Momentum, and, yes, this week will go very fast! Please start by watching Momentum Podcast 1 – Introduction to Momentum. We will do assignment 1 in class on Monday to solve tons of awesome problems, and then we’ll take a quiz on Tuesday. We will also begin the Conservation of Momentum Lab. (The lab report for this lab will be due on February 13.) In the lab you will collect data about collisions and examine the data to find patterns, which will lead you to figuring out the formula we’re after. Don’t watch podcasts on Conservation of Momentum until Wednesday so as not to give any secrets away, but you should prepare for class on Wednesday by watching Momentum Podcast 2 – Conservation of Momentum part 1Momentum Podcast 3 – Conservation of Momentum part 2, and Momentum Podcast 4 – Conservation of Momentum Sample Problem. On Thursday and Friday we will solve gobs of amazing problems as we practice with the ActivExpressions and then do assignment 2.

This week in astronomy: We will take our quiz on star mapping, so bring your flashlights and star maps to the planetarium on Monday, and rewatch Celestial Sphere Podcast 1 – Star Mapping to study. Following the quiz we will observe the diurnal (“daily”, or 24-hour) motion of the stars in the planetarium and explore the celestial equator and celestial north pole in more detail. These two podcasts will support our work: Celestial Sphere Podcast 2 – Celestial Equator and Celestial North Pole and Celestial Sphere Podcast 3 – Circumpolar Stars. A focus will be on examining the differences in the sky at different latitudes, so get ready to use those spatial thinking skills to analyze and predict what the sky will look like if you travel. Good stuff! Expect a quiz late this week or early next on these two podcasts.

Cool Science of the Week: If you could travel to the center of our Milky Way galaxy without getting sucked into a supermassive black hole and could take off your space suit without quickly losing consciousness and dying within a couple of minutes, then you could open your mouth and taste…raspberries!?!? Apparently true…and delicious!


Week of January 21, 2012

Welcome to a short but amazing week!

This week in physicsBy Tuesday you must have great notes completed on podcasts 12, 13, and 14 from our unit on energy. We’ll do assignment 3 in class on Tuesday and Wednesday followed by a test on Thursday or Friday. (Yes, last week I predicted we’d take it early this week, but my conference on Thursday and the fact that we have Monday off has bumped us a smidge. Try to contain your disapointment. :-P) Next week: A quick unit on momentum!

This week in astronomyThis is our big planetarium week, so come to class excited!!! We’ll spend the first part of the week practicing mapping the stars and finding them in the “sky.” (You need your flashlights this week. We’ll ultimately take a quiz, and you may not share flashlights. Without a flashlight, you won’t be able to see your map.) Podcast 1 will help you prepare for the quiz. Following this we’ll explore the motion of our night sky and begin doing meridian diagrams in which we’ll identify key markers, such as the celestial equator and the celestial north pole. These will help us better analyze the motions of the stars as we “travel” across the globe. Podcast 2 will lend support to our work. We’ll continue with this topic deep into next week. FUN!!!

Cool Science of the WeekThis is from the “Oh no they didn’t!” files…Over 34,000 citizens signed a petition asking President Obama to build the Death Star. Hahahahah!!!! Continuing the “Oh no they didn’t!” thread, the White House responded…with an AWESOME overview of our space program. It’s worth a read…Enjoy!






Special bonus opportunity (astronomy only): What moon in our solar system resembles the Death Star?

Week of January 14, 2013

Welcome to the start of a new semester! A note to my retiring astronomy students: Unless you would like to continue reading the witty banter available through this blog, you might want to unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of the emails you receive.

This week in physics: Be sure to have watched all podcasts from the energy unit up through podcast 11 by Monday. We will work on assignment 2 in class on Monday, and what is not finished in class is due as homework for Tuesday. Following completion of the assignment we’ll have a quiz over the topics of work and the work-energy theorem. The next topic is the Law of Conservation of Mechanical Energy, and you should watch the following podcasts by the date assigned in your class:

We’ll complete assignment 3 and assignment 4 in short order with a quiz mixed in. Expect the unit test early next week. After that, we’ll gather some…MOMENTUM! 🙂

This week in astronomy: Welcome to the course! This week we will go over course details and take a preassessment early in the week. Immediately thereafter we will begin mapping the sky and identifying stars in the planetarium. As homework be sure to watch Celestial Sphere Podcast 1 – Star Mapping to support our work in class. This will be fun!

Cool Science of the Week: In the spirit of welcoming new students to astronomy, check out this “Animated Flight through the Universe” based on a montage of telescopic images of 400,000 galaxies. If you own even 1/4 of the nerdy factor that I do, it will make you think of this scene from Star Wars Episode II:




A special thank you goes to Mrs. Cruz for sending in the link to this animation!

More cool science: Some of you met Mr. Wilson’s planet-hunter friend, astronomer Nate Kaib, when he visited in December. Well, MSNBC just did a write-up on his work. It’s like you know someone famous-ish! Check it out!