Week of November 2, 2015

Happy November! Remember that we do not have school this Tuesday, November 3rd, as teachers will be going through district training.

This Week in AP Physics
We will continue our exploration of energy. Homework 1 is due on Monday. On Wednesday and Thursday we’ll finish our notes for the unit by covering the conservation of internal energy within a system and the concept of power. Homework 2 will most likely be due on Thursday or Friday. Ideally our unit 4 test will be next Monday, November 9, although there is a slim chance we will be ready for it this Friday, November 6. In addition, your lab report for the work-energy theorem experiment will be due on Tuesday, November 10. (Remember that the hardcopy will be due at the start of class on the due date; an upload  is due 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
On Monday in class you will have a sub (your favorite sub!) You will take notes on the following podcasts IN CLASS (not as homework): Force Podcast 1 – Net External ForceForce Podcast 2 – Weight, and Force Podcast 3 – Normal Force. Be ready for a podcast quiz over those notes on Wednesday. We will expand on the notes from the podcasts and build toward assignment 1, which we should do by the end of the week. Most classes have a significant number of students who will be absent on Wednesday due to a field trip, so we’ll set our pace for the week as appropriate. Note: If you are in 1st period or 6th period, your lab report for the Human Cannonball Projectiles Lab is due on Friday, November 6. (Remember that the hardcopy will be due at the start of class on the due date; an upload  is due 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. Be sure to use the lab document as well as the lab report writing guide and lab report rubric as you write.) Also note: If you are in 3rd period, we have yet to do this experiment. We will do it most likely on Thursday, and your report will be due next week.

Spooky Science of the Week
NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program continually monitors the universe for asteroids that may be on a crash course with Earth. They keep a list of asteroids with potential to collide with Earth and develop plans to save us just in case it happens one day. If you check the list, you’ll see that a collision is highly improbable anytime in the next couple of centuries. The problem with asteroids is that their trajectories often change due to gravitational interactions with moons and planets and collisions with other asteroids. Sometimes an asteroid suddenly appears without us having recognized its existence before. On October 10, NASA discovered Asteroid 2015 TB145, now nicknamed the Great Pumpkin Halloween Asteroid, which is due to fly just outside of our moon’s orbit on Halloween! This asteroid is about the size of a large skyscraper and would not make for a fun collision, but we are in absolutely no danger. Sadly, we also won’t be able to see it, since it’s passing by in the early afternoon, and it is going to be very dim even for those who are experiencing it during their nighttime. Like Linus’ Great Pumpkin, we could wait and wait, and we’ll never see it here in Avon Lake. Nonetheless, check out the news (or Twitter) on Halloween night, because professional and amateur astronomers who experience the asteroid in different parts of the world will sure to be posting cool images of it.

Week of October 26, 2015

Welcome to second quarter! Congratulations on completing 1/4 of your physics course!!!

This Week in AP Physics
Away we go with ENERGY! As with the last unit, this is one of the foundation topics in physics, so stay alert! We will start with some phenomenally-presented notes followed by homework 1 as announced. We will also do a lab on the work-energy theorem in which we’ll examine the work done by a variable force. This will be a formal lab report that will be due one week after we finish the experiment. (Remember that the hardcopy will be due at the start of class on the due date; an upload  is due 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
1st period: Your unit 2 test is Monday, and on Tuesday we’ll have some fun with a projectile experiment. On Wednesday we’ll begin unit 3 on force and Newton’s laws. You will have no podcasts due this week.
3rd period: On Monday we will finish practicing the math for projectile problems and will begin assignment 3, which we will finish on Tuesday or Wednesday. Following this we’ll discuss upwardly-launched projectiles and satellites and will do assignment 4. Ideally we will take the unit test on Friday.
6th period: On Monday we will do assignment 4 and will review for our unit 2 test, which we’ll take on Tuesday. On Wednesday we’ll have some fun with a projectile experiment. On Wednesday we’ll begin unit 3 on force and Newton’s laws. You will have no podcasts due this week.

Cool Science of the Week
Fall is here, and it’s getting to be super pretty outside with all of the fall leaves. Did you know that our fall colors can be seen from space? Pretty nifty! You may remember from biology class why leaves change colors in the fall, but just in case you’ve forgotten, I’ll tell you. Plants look green in the summer because chlorophyll is the dominant pigment, and in the summer when chlorophyll degrades, the leaves make new chlorophyll. In the fall, however, with decreased exposure to sunlight, the plant stops making new chlorophyll. When the dominant green pigment is gone, we begin to see other pigments that were there all along. These pigments are yellow, orange, red, and purple. I think it’s really cool that the fall colors are present in the leaves all summer long, but we don’t see them because the chlorophyll dominates. Finally in the fall they get to show off. 🙂Fall Colors Arriving
Fall color as seen from space last fall, courtesy of NASA

Week of October 19, 2015

This is the last week of the first quarter grading period. Be sure to check PowerSchool to look for any gaps.

This Week in AP Physics
We will finish our unit on mass, force, and Newton’s laws by completing our notes and homework 4. Expect a test in the second half of the week. (This test will not go on the first grading period because you need time to make test corrections.) Up next: ENERGY!!! 🙂

This Week in Physics
1st period: We will finish working on projectiles by doing assignments 3 and 4 and will most likely take our unit 2 test in the second half of the week. This will be the last grade of the first grading period.
3rd period: On Monday we will work on unit 2‘s assignment 2 followed by a quiz as announced. For Tuesday please take notes on  Podcast 7 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 1, Podcast 8 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 2, Podcast 9 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 3Podcast 10 – Projectile Formulas, Podcast 11 – Projectile Sample Problem part 1, and Podcast 12 – Projectile Sample Problem part 2. We will go over these in class during the remainder of the week and will do assignments 3 and 4.
6th period: On Monday we will finish our projectile sketch activity and will then dive into the math related to projectiles, doing gobs of practice problems. This will lead us into assignments 3 and 4 and, most likely, our unit 2 test in the second half of the week.

Cool Science of the Week
What can be boiled, completely dried out, or sent into the vacuum (and crazy radiation) of outer space and SURVIVE? Why the humble tardigrade, of course! These 500 million year old tiny critters, nicknamed “water bears,” are perhaps the toughest creatures on the planet. They also have an incredibly unique physiology and anatomy, very unlike all other species. Some people speculate, therefore, that if they are so unique and can survive in space, perhaps they’ve traveled here on a meteor, raising the question…where FROM? Mwwaaahahahaha!!!

Paramacrobiotus craterlaki (Credit: Eye of Science/Science Photo Library)

About 1mm long, tardigrades love mossy damp places and were first found in rain gutters.

Week of October 12, 2015

We are entering the last two weeks of the first quarter grading period. Keep going strong!

This Week in AP Physics
We will continue to explore unit 3 by finishing friction on Monday and doing homework 3 for Tuesday. We’ll do a quick lab on friction and explore terminal velocity, and then Newton’s third law and homework 4 will follow, time permitting. Your lab report for the Newton’s second law lab is due this Thursday, October 15. (Hardcopy is due at the start of class; upload  is due 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.) Expect a test next week as our final grade for the quarter.

This Week in Physics
1st period: For Monday please take notes on Podcast 7 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 1, Podcast 8 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 2, and Podcast 9 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 3. For Tuesday please take notes on Podcast 10 – Projectile Formulas, Podcast 11 – Projectile Sample Problem part 1, and Podcast 12 – Projectile Sample Problem part 2. We will spend the week covering these topics and doing assignments 3 & 4. We may get to our lab this week. Otherwise we will do it next week along with a test. The test will be the final grade for first quarter.
3rd period: On Monday we’ll finish unit 2 assignment 1 so that we can take a quiz over vector addition on Tuesday. Our next stop will be vector resolution, but we will go over this in class. I recommend that you wait to watch Podcast 5 – Introduction to Vector Resolution and Podcast 6 – Vector Resolution Sample Problem until after you take the vector addition quiz. During the remainder of the week we will do assignment 2 and take a quiz over vector resolution. If/when assigned, please take notes on  Podcast 7 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 1, Podcast 8 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 2, Podcast 9 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 3Podcast 10 – Projectile Formulas, Podcast 11 – Projectile Sample Problem part 1, and Podcast 12 – Projectile Sample Problem part 2.
6th period: On Monday we will finish assignment 2 and will take the subsequent quiz over vector resolution on Tuesday. Also for Tuesday, please take notes on Podcast 7 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 1, Podcast 8 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 2, and Podcast 9 – Introduction to Projectile Motion part 3. For Wednesday please take notes on Podcast 10 – Projectile Formulas, Podcast 11 – Projectile Sample Problem part 1, and Podcast 12 – Projectile Sample Problem part 2. We will spend the week covering these topics and doing assignments 3 & 4. We may get to our lab this week. Otherwise we will do it next week along with a test. The test will be the final grade for first quarter.

Cool Science of the Week
NASA’s New Horizons space mission has sent a probe to Pluto, and the probe has beamed back some really interesting information! This week NASA announced that it discovered that Pluto’s sky is much like our own: blue! That means that if you were to stand on Pluto’s surface, the daytime sky would look similar to ours (and similar to Mars’ sky, as well.) This means that Pluto does have an atmosphere, although the atmospheric pressure is decreasing, likely due to it slowly freezing onto Pluto’s surface. Another great finding of the New Horizons mission is that Pluto has lots of water! Of course, it’s frozen, but nonetheless, it’s there. (Remind me sometime to tell you how astronomers think Earth got its water.) The next stop for New Horizons is the Kuiper belt, a giant ring of asteroids that is the source of many of our comets. The Kuiper belt lies outside of Pluto’s and Neptune’s orbits.
Blue haze around Pluto.
Composite photo of Pluto’s atmosphere taken by New Horizons

What is the Kuiper belt?

Week of October 5, 2015

As much as you love school, we have to ask that you stay home on Monday so that we can host parent-teacher conferences. Don’t worry, though…You can come back on Tuesday! 🙂

This Week in AP Physics
I over-planned for last week! We will finish exploring tension and will do assignment 2 and then an experiment for which you will write a formal lab report. This report will be due not on Thursday, October 8 but rather one week from the day we finish the lab, as announced in class. (Hardcopy is due at the start of class; upload  is due 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.) Time permitting we will continue notes.

This Week in Physics
1st period and 6th period: We will finish assignment 1 from unit 2 and will take a quiz as announced. Please take notes on Podcast 5 – Introduction to Vector Resolution and Podcast 6 – Vector Resolution Sample Problem when assigned. We will then practice vector resolution in class and do assignment 2 followed by a quiz as announced. Time permitting, you may be assigned some of the remaining podcasts from unit 2.
3rd period: Your unit 1 test is Tuesday. Be sure to bring a calculator and a #2 pencil. For Wednesday 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
Lots of science fiction is fun and is also (definitely) minimal science and maximum fiction. The new Matt Damon movie The Martian, however, (mostly) has the approval of NASA scientists as being realistic! What I’ve found fascinating about Mars is that photographs taken by the Curiosity rover (a robot on Mars) look a whole lot like Arizona (minus the desert plants)!
Damon with rover
Matt Damon’s character gets stranded on Mars in 2035. This timeline and the science involved is pretty realistic according to NASA scientists!

A Martian selfie by the real-life Curiosity rover: Just another sunny day on Mars

The Curiosity rover looks back at the tracks it made while off-roading. Check out that blue sky!