Week of March 2, 2015

It’s MARCH!!! YES!!! Goodbye, horribly cold February!!!

This Week in AP Physics
It’s electrostatics time! We’ll start the week by examining the nature of charge, methods of charging, and electric force. This will include an awesome lab and homework 1. Next we’ll take a look at electric fields, which will eventually lead us to another awesome lab (one of my favorites of the entire year) and homework 2. That’s probably going to spill into next week unless we suddenly become extra extreme ninjas. Final note: Your behavior of gases lab is due at the start of class on Tuesday with an upload to TurnItIn.com by 3:00.

This Week in Physics
Sixth and tenth period are at different places, but we will all catch up to ourselves to take the unit six test by Friday.
Sixth period: On Monday we will take a quiz over circular motion and will then discuss gravity, center of mass, and planetary orbits. Don’t worry about taking notes from podcasts over the weekend. We’ll do everything in class and then will work on assignment 2. Expect a cool virtual lab, as well.
Tenth period: On Monday we’ll wrap up both the circular motion lab and assignment 1. On Tuesday we’ll take a quiz over circular motion. Also for Tuesday, please take notes on Podcast 5 – Gravity and Podcast 6 – Center of Mass, Gravity, and Planetary Orbits. We’ll spend Tuesday through Thursday debriefing these and doing assignment 2. Final note: For those of you writing the formal lab report, the report will be due on Tuesday, March 10 (hardcopy due at the start of class, upload to TurnItIn.com by 3:00)

This Week in Astronomy
Having totally mastered the stars we see at night, we’ll turn our attention to our day star, our very own sun. We’ll start the week by analyzing data of the position of the sun at different dates in order to figure out how the sun’s position changes annually. We’ll then extend that understanding to analyze how the sun’s position changes annually at different latitudes. Finally we’ll examine why this happens and relate it to climate. This is a pretty quick unit, so the test should be next week. Remember to keep working on your first outdoor lab, which is due next Friday, March 13. (See last week’s blog entry for details.)

Cold Science of the Week
As of this writing (on Friday, February 27,) Cleveland is poised to set (on Saturday) a new all-time record for “being horribly cold” over the entire month of February. (Today we tied the old record set way back in 1885!) Why? Well, it’s the Siberian Express, of course! (Note: Not as awesome as the Polar Express) The Siberian Express is a name given to a cold air mass that originates in Siberia that has bypassed the North Pole and wound its way down through Canada and into our own back yard. This photo from The Weather Channel gives you an idea of why the very air itself makes you feel like you are being slapped with giant ice cubes. But, hey, the official start of spring is only three weeks away. We can make it, right?
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Week of February 23, 2015

Well, who expected a two day week last week? Obviously we’ll be continuing with some of the items from last week’s blog. We ALSO have to do scheduling this week, so that will take up some extra time. We’ve got to stay focused and work efficiently, so be ready! 🙂

This Week in AP Physics
The Analysis of P-V Diagrams lab is due on Monday along with homework 3. We wil debrief these on Monday and possibly into Tuesday. On Tuesday and possibly into Wednesday we will finish the unit on thermal physics by examining the 2nd and 3rd laws and doing homework 4 for Wednesday or Thursday. Expect the test by the end of the week UNLESS our course scheduling takes more time than I anticipate.

This Week in Physics
We spent a lot of time last week discussing scheduling options for next year, so we still need to debrief the first three podcasts on circular motion. Then we will do our Centripetal Force Lab and assignment 1 followed by a quiz as announced. Expect the test late next week.

This Week in Astronomy
We’ll examine how and why the sky changes throughout the year so that you’ll know how to figure out what the sky should look like on any day at any time at any latitude. Cool stuff! Podcast 4 – Seasonal Constellations and Star Magnitude covers the topics we’ll be going into to finish this unit. To do a final reinforcement of our skills, we will do a virtual lab using Stellarium freeware. We will likely test by the end of the week, although we may not test until early next week. On the day of the test, Unit 1 – Homework Questions are due. These make for a quick review to prepare you for the test. It is also time for you to begin your first outdoor lab. This will require you to go outside on a clear night at one hour intervals to make a total of three observations of the night sky. Please follow the instructions on the lab to complete it correctly, and see me if you have any questions. Obviously the weather is pretty dangerously cold right now, so I will give you a few weeks to do this lab. We’ll watch the weather and can extend the due date if necessary, but as of now, I’m anticipating making it due on Friday, March 13. Note: You do not have to print the homework questions. You can just write your answers on notebook paper. However, you will need to print the outdoor lab, which is only two pages. (Be sure to print in black-and-white. 🙂 )

Cool Science of the Week
You may have heard in the news this week about a privately-funded, privately-run project called Mars One, which plans to send humans to Mars to begin colonization in 2024. This week Mars One announced that it has narrowed the applicant pool down to 100 candidates for the 24 spots available to go to Mars…and never return. Will it work? MIT says it will face big technological challenges that will make it impossible using today’s technology. This will be an interesting project to watch over these next nine years!

Week of February 16, 2014

You’ve been working hard…Why not take Monday off? (While your relaxing, you can think about the contributions of the U.S. presidents. 🙂 )

This Week in AP Physics
On Monday we will complete the Behavior of Gases lab and homework 2 from our thermal physics unit. The lab report for the gas behavior lab will be due next week as announced. We will take a quiz over the ideal gas law and the kinetic theory of an ideal gas as announced and will also begin our exploration of the laws of thermodynamics. During the remainder of the week we will do homework 3 and our Analysis of P-V Diagrams lab activity (short form.) Expect a test by the end of next week. After that…electricity!

This Week in Physics
We begin our unit on circular and rotational motion this week. (This is a quick one, so be ready for fast action!) For Monday please take notes on Podcast 1 – Introduction to Circular MotionPodcast 2 – Circular Motion Formulas, and Podcast 3 – Formulas. For Tuesday please take notes on Podcast 4 – Centripetal Force. We will go over these and on Monday, Tuesday, and possibly into Wednesday and will then do our Centripetal Force Lab. (Guess what…GOGGLES!!!!) We will also round out the week with assignment 1 followed by a quiz as announced. Expect the test late next week.

This Week in Astronomy
We will continue to explore the celestial sphere as we complete our examination of how the sky varies with latitude. Expect a quiz as we close out that topic, likely on Tuesday or Wednesday, as announced. Podcast 2 – Celestial Equator and Celestial North Pole, and Podcast 3 – Circumpolar Stars will help you study, and if you’re feeling a bit lost, please check these out. They can be a big help. 🙂 Following the quiz we’ll examine how and why the sky changes throughout the year. This will round out* our full view of the celestial sphere…latitude changes, daily changes, and annual changes. You’ll know how to figure out what the sky should look like on any day at any time at any latitude. You’ll be THAT cool. 🙂 Expect a test early next week.
* celestial sphere pun

Cool Science of the Week
I love candy hearts for Valentine’s Day. Do you? Here’s some fun science behind our delicious treat…

Week of February 9, 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day Week!

This Week in AP Physics
We will continue our exploration of our unit on thermal physics as we cover methods of heat transfer on Monday so that you can do homework 1 for Tuesday. Next we’ll cover the mathematics of probability as it relates to the ideal gas law and the kinetic theory of an ideal gas so that we can do a swell lab* and homework 2 toward the end of the week and into early next week. Finally, your lab report on the Bernoulli’s experiment is due on Wednesday with a hard copy at the start of class and an upload to TurnItIn.com by 3:00 pm.
* volume change pun

This Week in Physics
We will complete our study of momentum as we finish the topic of the impulse-momentum theorem by doing assignment 4 and a fun little lab activity involving ramming cars into things. Expect a test by the end of the week.

This Week in Astronomy
If you have not already done so, please download the Astronomy Course Policies and Procedures document, go over it with your parent(s) or guardian(s), print the last page, sign it, and turn it in. This was due on Friday, January 23rd. This week we will continue to explore how the appearance of the sky changes when we travel across the Earth. First we will finish analyzing the E-S-W apparent motion of the sky and then will turn to the north to analyze what we see there. Expect a quiz or two scattered throughout the week. Podcast 2 – Celestial Equator and Celestial North Pole will help you study but is not required viewing.

Cool Science of the Week
This is LITERALLY cool science that takes you on a “Snowflake Safari” to discover whether the old adage is true that no two snowflakes are alike.