Day 27

Man I hope I have that date count right.

Memo: There will be a post for Day 28. There will not be one for Day 29. Day 29 will be Homecoming, and there will be nothing to report. If there is no Day 30 post, which is my goal, you will know all you need to know about how Homecoming went.

Physical Science: Today we did our first ever white board presentations in class. I’m not going to lie, they went really well. Well, for at least 2 out of 3 classes. I always wonder how often before students get to high school, that they are expected to speak in front of a group of students.

I definitely think that there should be way more discussion and presentation in school in general. That open dialogue of ideas, right or wrong, is something that kids seem to get as younger students, and then there is this time when school gets away form it. Just as kids need to learn that it is okay to be wrong, it is okay to be open about ideas. Brainstorm, share, discuss.

Off the soap box, The assignment (click here) was to analyze 4 graphs, find slope and y-intercept, and then verbalize what they teach us about the data given. Then they must answer a question using the graph. Below are a couple of the white boards from my first hour.

I like how the one group addressed the slope as how much the force increases with each increase in mass. This really helped to figure out the force at 10 kg. We had not analyzed a graph like this one before, and so it created a great opportunity for discussion and raised the bar for higher learning.

Chemistry: We finally got to the bottom of the Smelly and Double Beaker Demos. Students did a really nice job of talking about what they saw in the double beaker demo from yesterday. The visual of the dye mixing around in the water finally gave proof that there is in fact particle motion in fluid. All those moving water particles pushing the dye around, made a nice bridge to understanding what was happening with the peppermint demo.

We finally decided that the air particles must be moving, just like the water in the beakers. It must also be responsible for getting the peppermint oil particles into the air, and moving them around the room.

Ultimately we decided that we do in fact have proof that there are little particles in matter, that those particles are in motion, and that they can bounce off of each other. Hmmm, what a nice theory right?

We also defined this action of particles interacting to bounce off of each other and move each other through space as diffusion. Some kids went to this idea right away, but nobody could really define it, so yet again another scenario where concept first, name second wins.

Oh, and someone dropped the term “energy” on us today.

Me: “What in the world is energy?”

Ss: “No idea.”

So we once again had the talk: if you don’t know what something means, don’t try to use it to explain something.

Physics of Light: Today we just worked on some more optics problems now that we have introduced the idea of Total Internal Reflection. We will start white boarding tomorrow, and then carry it over to next Monday.

Highlight of the day though was 3-4 kids staying after the bell, adamantly arguing a solution to one of the problems. No name calling, no “you’re stupid” comments, just flat out “no it has to be like this because..” and “No, no, no, don’t you remember when we…”




My dad got me this a while back. We took a trip up to the north shore of Minnesota last year and stopped at the Split Rock Lighthouse. Inside the museum they had some cool optics displays, and I played with them, trying to figure out the reflective surfaces they use in order to make the beam so coherent and able to travel so far out into Lake Superior. Any ways, my dad saw this, and it reminded him of that trip, so he picked it up for me.

“It just made me think of that day, and I knew you’d find a cool use for it,” he said. It was a pretty neat moment for me. At 34, living a state away, and having completely different life paths, its not often I get to have moments like this with my dad. It was a cool trip we had, and this is a big souvenir, even though we didn’t get it on the trip itself. I will definitely be using this later in the year when we investigate reflective surfaces.

Until then I will just spy on my kids while I’m writing on my SMARTBoard.


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