Day 4

Physical Science: Today we talked about science and the field of science. A lot of time was spent on trying to define science. My textbooks, which I only use to hold up ramps, defines it as the “study of the natural world.”


I like to go to this page here, and talk about what some of the less traditional definitions tell us about science. One of my favorites is “Fiction is the suspension of disbelief; science is the suspension of belief.”

Or perhaps the final story:

  A carpenter, a school teacher, and scientist were traveling by train through Scotland when they saw a black sheep through the window of the train.
“Aha,” said the carpenter with a smile, “I see that Scottish sheep are black.”
“Hmm,” said the school teacher, “You mean that some Scottish sheep are black.”
“No,” said the scientist glumly, “All we know is that there is at least one sheep in Scotland, and that at least one side of that one sheep is black.”

We then discuss how scientists create models from the experiments they do, and how they can be mathematical or graphical. One example of a great model is looking at the area of a square. For a square, Area = base x height. We then look at is this is true for a rectangle, which it is. Then a parallelogram, which also works. One model that works for 3 different polygons, in all situations.

Then we look at how we can take that model, cut a square on the diagonal, which results in a triangle. Since we only want half of the square we add to the equation, Area = 1/2 x base x height. The model for the 4 sided figure, can be adapted to work for a three sided figure. That’s a good model!

Created using Educreations on iPad.

Created using Educreations on iPad.

Chemistry: We started the Mass and Change lab today. Before we began we watched a great video. An oldie, but a goodie:

The we talked about how to measure the amount of stuff, aka mass, before heading into lab.

The first of 6 tests is to take a wad of steel wool, shred it to little pieces, and then measure the mass of it at the end. The results were very consistent. Consistently negative.

“What does it mean that the final mass, after shredding, is less than the steel wool before you did anything to it?”

“We had less at the end.”


“Yeah, that doesn’t seem right at all…”

AP Chemistry: They took the unit 1 quiz. Fingers crossed.

Physics of Light: We went over our first assignment, after review our “The Story So Far…” document. The focus was on, could you answer all of the questions, using only the ideas we introduced yesterday. Nothing outside of that basic particle model.

Students did very well. There was some clean up, but not to bad. There was a lot of confusion about the question below. The focus was to be on light particles traveling from the point (black dot) on the light source. This student had a very nicely shaded region for where all light particles coming form that point, would be able to reach.

No, particle from the point, do not reach "C"

No, particle from the point, do not reach “C”

Monday we are going to investigate Shadows! We previewed what they would look like in our “dark lab” setting, and the kids are psyched.

Side note: Since I model, I also white board. Today I decided to go high tech, and save some time. I took pictures of the problems kids had worked out, put them on my iPad, and then dumped them into Educreations. Educreations is a white board app, that allows you to add pictures, and then white board over the top.

Then I used my Apple TV to image the iPad screen to the front of the room, onto my SMARTBoard. It allowed the kids to have their work, not have to redo it, and also allowed me to draw and point things out from the back of the room. I really liked it. Thanks goes out to Dale Basler (@Basler), of Appleton Area Schools, for showing us cool stuff to do with Apple TV a few years back at our Phox Valley Physical Science Share Group Sessions (@PhoxShare)



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