Day 7: Heating Things Up

Friday, Sept 7

And now I have to start counting and keeping track of days, because the day # and date # diverge ever further from today on.

Physics: Review for exam. I explained one review question wrong, realized it, then explained it right and confused everyone. So, I set that question aside, moved on, and circled back around at the end to try again, and it went way, way smoother the second time. I still need to re-write the exam to my own format, so we’ll see how they do.

Honors Physics: Specific Heat and Molar Specific Heat. A student came to me before class today because she couldn’t get a reasonable answer, and we discovered together than the issue was order of operations in her calculator. The practice problem said “10/3(26)(4)” and putting that exactly into the calculator does not give the desired result. I showed her a couple ways to be more careful about calculator errors, and everything was smooth from there. In class, we had some interesting discussions about the “theoretically best material” for calorimetry vs practical materials. I took a question from the book about whether we would want to use water, ethyl alcohol, or liquid mercury to determine the specific heat of a small object, and based on heat capacities, liquid mercury would have the highest temperature change. However, liquid mercury. It was cool to see the thoughtful looks on their faces as they thought about physical properties vs practical properties and how these ides apply to real life.

I also got to extoll the virtue of cast iron pans, which I will take any chance at all to do.

AP Physics: Swap of Tuesday. One class did Inertia Stations, and the other did the Physics 500. It was interesting how the class approached it differently by having people go simultaneously and hitting lap for each person at the finish line to take data more quickly. The Tuesday class did everything individually. This class also asked if they could do the mystery distance on the grass instead of the track, and I wouldn’t let them. Differences between setting the index and using the index are what I want to talk about. I still don’t care at all about how close they actually got or didn’t get. I care about their thinking, the process, and how the errors here can be analyzed and mitigated in future labs. I spent the time they were taking measurements pacing an 80yd path on the track next to them since standing, sitting on the ground, and sitting on benches are all fantastic ways to wreck my back and staying walking is the least painful option.

It also let me feed my FitBit steps, distance, and minutes of exercise. My favorite description of a FitBit I’ve read is that it’s just like a tamagotchi, only the pathetic creature you’re trying to take care of and keep alive is yourself.

Pretty much.

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