Week of September 28, 2015

This week starts out with a (TOTALLY!) TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE! Check out the Cool Science feature at the bottom of this blog entry for details.

This Week in AP Physics
We will complete our experiment on Inertial Mass vs Gravitational Mass as well as assignment 1 by Tuesday. Next we’ll explore the fundamentally important Newton’s Laws of Motion with some charmingly-delivered notes, assignment 2, and an experiment for which you will write a formal lab report. This report will be due on Thursday, October 8 (hardcopy due at the start of class, upload to TurnItIn.com by 3:00 of that day. Remember to write using Google Drive and share your document with me at alhsgb@gmail.com… Note that I do not use that for email correspondence.)

This Week in Physics
We will take our unit 1 test and will then begin a much quicker topic, two-dimensional motion, in unit 2. When asked, please take notes on Podcast 1 – Vectors vs. ScalarsPodcast 2 – Vector Diagrams, Podcast 3 – Introduction to Vector Addition, and Podcast 4 – Vector Addition Sample Problem. We will go over these briefly in class and will then do assignment 1.

Cool Science of the Week
Indeed there will be a lunar eclipse to start our week! On Sunday night (beginning at 9:07 pm and peaking at 10:47 pm) if you head outside – and if the weather cooperates – you’ll be in for a pretty cool sight…a bright red moon! A lunar eclipse happens when the moon passes into Earth’s shadow, preventing the moon from getting the full blast of sunlight that allows it to look white and bright. Interestingly, there is still a little bit of light that bends (refracts) through Earth’s atmosphere and strikes the moon. This light is reddish because the atmosphere has filtered out higher energy light (the colors blue and green.) What remains streaming behind the Earth is a red shadow. As the moon passes into this shadow, it will appear bright red, and it’s a pretty awesome sight. It is said that the moon during a lunar eclipse is experiencing all the sunsets and sunrises of Earth at the same time.

You may also hear news reporters brag that this will be a SUPERMOON! This sounds very impressive, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. The moon’s orbit is elliptical, which means that there are orbital locations that are closer to Earth than others. When the moon is at (or near) its closest orbital point, some people term it a supermoon. Is it so super? Well, it is about 16% brighter than the average full moon…but the average moon only reflects 7% of the sun’s light…so supermoon will reflect about 8.1% of the sun’s light. Is that enough to notice? Additionally, a supermoon appears 7% bigger than the average full moon, which is 0.5 angular degrees in our 180 degree sky. Doing the math, 7% of 0.5 degree makes the supermoon 0.535 degrees big. I don’t think I’m going to notice the difference, but it sure sounds exciting when people talk about it on the news! 🙂 This may make you wonder (if all this supermoon business is so unimpressive) why the moon really does seem bigger sometimes. I think I’ve written enough for now, but I can share it with you in class if you’d like to know.

Week of September 21, 2015

This week marks the second half of first quarter. Time flies when you’re doing physics! (or when you’re a Time Lord)

This Week in AP Physics
We will take our unit 2 test on Monday and will then dive into a major unit, unit 3 on mass, force, and Newton’s laws. This week we will perform an experiment on Inertial Mass vs Gravitational Mass and will tackle at least one if not two homework assignments. Allons-y!

This Week in Physics
Please follow the instructions for your class period:
1st Period: On Monday we will finish assignment 4 and will cover free fall. We will have a quiz over the kinematic equations on Tuesday and will do assignment 5 together in class. You have no podcasts due as homework. Expect the unit 1 test on Thursday or Friday. Allons-y!
3rd Period: Assignments 2 & 3 are due as homework. We will go over these in class on Monday so that you can take a quiz over acceleration on Tuesday. Next we will cover the kinematic equations and will complete assignment 4 together in class, followed by a quiz on the day after we finish the assignment. For that same day, please take notes on Podcast 9 – Introduction to Free FallPodcast 10 – Free Fall Sample Problems, and Pocast 11 – Terminal Velocity. We will cover these and do assignment 5. Ideally we will take the unit 1 test on Friday. Allons-y!
6th Period: on Monday we will take a quiz over acceleration and will then do assignment 4 over the kinematic equations. We will take a quiz over the kinematic equations on the day after we finish the assignment. For that same day, please take notes on Podcast 9 – Introduction to Free FallPodcast 10 – Free Fall Sample Problems, and Pocast 11 – Terminal Velocity. We will cover these and do assignment 5. Ideally we will take the unit 1 test on Friday. Allons-y!

Cool Science of the Week
Doctor Who’s new season begins this weekend, and I don’t know about you, but I’m pumped! I love science fiction because it reminds us that our biggest scientific advances come from imagination. Sometimes it works the other way, and our imaginations are inspired by science. Check out these examples of Doctor Who science in the real world. (My favorite is that the Weeping Angels are based on the Quantum Zeno Effect.)

Week of September 14, 2015

It’s almost time for INTERIMS! Can you BELIEVE it!?!?

This Week in AP Physics
We will continue our work with unit 2 on two-dimensional motion by covering projectiles, doing assignment 2, and completing a lab activity. It is possible we will take our unit 2 test by the end of this week. Please remember that all tests are cumulative.

This Week in Physics
Note: There are corrections to this blog highlighted in red. We will continue to go over Podcast 5 – Introduction to Acceleration and Podcast 6 – Acceleration Signs vs. Velocity Signs and will complete assignment 2 & 3 together in class. On the day after we complete assignment 2 & 3, we will take a quiz over acceleration. Also due on that day are notes from Podcast 7 – Introduction to Kinematic Equations and Podcast 8 – Kinematic Equations Sample Problem. We’ll debrief those podcasts and will do assignment 4 together in class, followed by a quiz as announced. Time permitting, you may be asked to take notes on the remaining podcasts from unit 1. Expect a test next week. 🙂 NOTE: If you are in third period, your quiz over displacement and velocity is this Monday.

Cold Science of the Week
On this past Thursday, September 10, the US Coast Guard announced that its research vessel, Healy, had successfully reached the North Pole. In addition to practicing search-and-rescue missions and flying drones, researchers on Healy will conduct chemical analyses of arctic ice and water to assess environmental problems. Conspiracy theorists claim the researchers will also visit a certain special man in a red suit, but I don’t know if that’s true. You can follow Healy’s mission updates here and check out hourly photos here.
Healy_in_Ice

Week of September 7, 2015

Happy Labor Day!

This Week in AP Physics
We will take our unit 1 test on Wednesday and will then begin unit 2 on two-dimensional motion. When assigned, please do unit 2 assignment 1. We will also complete a laboratory analysis of projectile launch range. This is fun, and you get to wear GOGGLES! (Yes!) Due this week: Your lab report on uniform versus accelerated motion. Be sure to refer to last week’s blog for details.

This Week in Physics
By Tuesday please take notes on Podcast 4 – Slope of Position vs. Time Graphs. We will go over this, do an online activity, and complete assignment 1 together in class. On the day after we complete assignment 1, there will be a quiz over the topics in podcasts 1-4 from unit 1. Also due on the day after we complete assignment 1: Please take notes on Podcast 5 – Introduction to Acceleration and Podcast 6 – Acceleration Signs vs. Velocity Signs. We will go over these, do an online activity, and complete assignment 2 together in class. This will likely take us into next week, particularly since this is a shortened week.

Cool Science of the Week (literally!)
It’s going to be HOT this weekend, so that ice cream cone you may eat will melt pretty fast, right? Not if Scottish scientists have anything to do with it! Biophysicists in Edinburgh have developed a way to keep ice cream from melting as fast by using a protein to bind molecules in the desert. Not only does this protein keep the ice cream solid longer, it also keeps it creamier, reducing the need for ice cream to have such a high fat content, and it could reduce energy costs, as ice cream could be stored at higher temperatures. This is a delicious example of the bridge between biology, chemistry, and thermodynamic physics!
At Salt & Straw, they believe in sweet and spicy. Their strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper ice cream flavor tastes exactly as you'd expect it to.