Day 82: The Origin of the Oboe

Tuesday, Jan 30

Physics: Interference, standing waves, and the doppler effect. Three of my favorite topics. Tomorrow is sound. Another one of my most favoritest of topics. I showed standing waves and interference with some slinkies and phone cords and then connected the standing waves to music and how you get different notes. One student asked how pushing down the keys on a wind instrument did anything when the instrument stayed the same length the whole time. Obviously this meant I needed to build a straw oboe and demonstrate. I did so. Built one and made it shorter by cutting. Made another and put a finger hole in it and played a two note ditty for them. Now they all want to make one tomorrow. I’m super jazzed. So jazzed I’m playing the oboe as I write this. *snaps*

The other physics teacher focused on water waves, since he’s a huge surfer and freaking loves the ocean. I watched some of the videos he showed, and holy smokes it’s so neat! I have never noticed ocean water wave interference before. Now I’m going to totally keep an eye out for it.

Honors Physics: I learned today that we do have to have a final exam for the term, so I talked with the kids about that today to figure out what we want to do and what format the exam should take. We also talked about the final cosmology project before we move on to circuits, and they decided they’d prefer an exam over a project. I told them what I wanted to be assessed and had them write the exam questions. Right now they’re discussing what the best questions would be and how many for a 45 minute exam on Friday. Current discussion is leaning toward is 5 questions of 5-7 sentences each. I’m interested to see how this affects their answers.

AP Physics: Continued with circuits. I think they’ve done enough of the building and measuring, so tomorrow we’re going to look for patterns in the data and talk about how current and voltage behave in series and parallel. Thursday is our double period, so I will add in some capacitors and have them start fooling with that.

I also discovered that I handed back a quiz without having recorded the grades. BLEGH I hate it when I do that. Thankfully most of the kids had it with them today, so I only have to chase down and keep reminding three of them. I really want to move to Standards Based grading. That would take quite a bit of footwork to make happen this year, but I think it would be so much more valuable than just giving a number. “Gauss’s Law: Check! Coulomb’s Law: Needs more practice!” is much more valuable feedback than “5 points out of a possible 8 on this quiz”. I’ll keep thinking about this and see what makes sense.

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