Day 116: When You Don’t Have a Cough, They’re Lozenges.

Wednesday, April 4

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Happy Birthday to my great big brother! Hope you have a wonderful day with your wonderful family! I wish I could be there to celebrate with you. Also, for next year I’ll try to become better at making awesome graphics.

My voice isn’t working so well. I woke up this morning and couldn’t talk at all. Now it’s coming in fits and starts, but I can’t talk loud. My kids are super good about listening and helping me out either with conveying messages or working relatively independently. I’m answering their questions as I can. I stopped by the health center to talk to the nurse, and she basically said, “Yep, your voice isn’t working. Here are some lozenges, drink hot tea, and also don’t whisper,” so we’re now in Suck It Up And Deal Territory. Apparently there’s been a laryngitis virus going around.Good thing I have a big conference presentation/workshop on Friday. That’s convenient. I can’t imagine how I caught it in a three-day robotics competition filled with hundreds and hundreds of filthy vectors.

Anyway, physics.

Physics: Quiz and lab. The lab is building circuits with two resistors in series, measuring the current, and then repeating the process in parallel. They’re also supposed to calculate the power dissipated and compare in the two circuits. They have the old school needle ammeters that have 1A and 5A scales instead of the digital multimeter. It sure does make measuring things easier and faster than having to teach them to use a multimeter appropriately, but there’s also something to be said for teaching them how to use a multimeter appropriately. I’m glad we have these for today, at least, because I have to do a LOT of talking to teach how to use the multimeters, and they already know how to plug these ammeters in. I’m thinking maybe that we combine the two. Start with the separate ammeters and voltmeters so they know the difference, and then move to the multimeter later? Hmm. There’s a lot of stuff ebbing and flowing for next year with our new 9th grade curriculum, so I’ll play it by ear.

Honors Physics: Tried to set up a station lab this morning, but all the supplies I thought I found on the inventory ended up not being what I wanted or needed, so I ended up doing the last part of setup as I was explaining each station to the kids. There was a station with a solenoid and a magnet attached to a galvanometer, another with an electromagnet made of wire coiled around a long nail, a third with a compass inside a bunch of loops of wire and asked them to fool with making the compass needle move in different ways, and the last one was a loop of mag wire and our big horn magnet showing that without the current there’s no forces but with the current there’s an interaction between the magnet and the wire. Once everyone had explored all the stations, we watched a few videos about Nikola Tesla. We didn’t have much time, so we went for the three minute documentary and followed that up with his top ten inventions (NB: This is not the world’s most accurate and dependable YouTube channel in general, but this video did a pretty good job. I recommend one of the longer documentaries if you have the time).

AP Physics: Review problems! Since I can’t talk much, I did their favorite thing and gave them a big stack of practice problems to work on. The first class got through the first packet really quickly, which was heartening. The second packet gave them more trouble, which I am also ok with. The second class struggled more with the first packet, but they also worked together more consistently, so I’m ok with that, as well. The second packet will be sent home with them tonight to be brought in tomorrow for further review after they play with the same inductance stations as the honors kids did today. I’m really hoping my voice starts to recover tomorrow so that I can talk to my kids about things in more than frog croaks and thumbs up.

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