Day 80: Relaxing Back Into Teaching

Friday, Jan 26

Ok. Putting jury duty behind me. The students asked all the questions they had Wednesday and Thursday, so we moved on to Real! Actual! Science! on Friday.

Physics: Waves! One of my favorites. I said that, had a thought, stopped, and asked my students if I said every topics was my favorite topic. They said yes. I’m the Ford Truck Month of physics. Oh, well. Waves are awesome. We talked about the properties of waves and how wave speed depends on medium, frequency depends on the source, and wavelength is anyone’s little ol’ dog that’ll walk him. Then I teased interference, which is what they will read about over the weekend. Today would normally be the day of going over the exam, and I told them I would try, but because Reasons I did not get any exams graded. I promised to have them graded by Monday, and to me there is a big difference between “my goal is XX” and “I promise XX”. Luckily being on duty this weekend means I’m trapped on campus! Might as well grade, no?

Honors Physics: When I was gone on Wednesday, I left them an activity on Hubble plots. This turned out to be horrible. My bad. On Thursday we spent the entire time talking about jury duty and presentations of projects. So today I wanted to revisit Hubble plots and galaxy data with resources that weren’t terrible. It went WAY better when I was there to answer questions and lead them through the pieces. They each got a graph and drew a best-fit line to calculate their own estimate of H. Monday we’re going to look at the supernova data and see how the further away galaxies are moving away faster than expected and have the Dark Energy Discussion. DED. After that, we talked about where we wanted the class to go next, and they got to excited seeing all the circuits stuff out for AP that they asked if we could just go ahead and get started on electricity. For sure! After the DED.

AP Physics: Circuits! Yesterday’s lab was largely learning the basic skills of building circuits and using multimeters, so today I asked them to fool around with the materials, build whatever they wanted, and take measurements to see if they can break Ohm’s Law so they could start to get some ideas of where it worked and where it didn’t. They were not having great success at breaking Ohm’s law, but since the real Super Secret Squirrel Objective was to have them practice building a variety of circuits and taking measurements I cared not at all. We’ll go over the ideas of what assumptions are included in Ohm’s Law on Monday and then start building circuits with actual resistors and taking more structured measurements.

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