Weeks of January 4 & January 11, 2016

Happy New Year! We’ve almost made it to the end of the first semester –  Congratulations on your accomplishments! This blog post will cover our last week before mid-term exams as well as the mid-term exam schedule, which is as follows:

Exams

These Weeks in AP Physics
We will cover the very brief topic of unit 7, which is oscillatory (back-and-forth) motion of pendulums and mass-spring systems. There will be one homework/classwork associated with this. With the remainder of our time and into Monday of exam week, we will do a couple of short experiments, and then we’ll review a smidge by going through old tests. EXAM WEEK: Your FRQ exam will be during the 11th period slot on Tuesday, and your MC exam will be during the 10th period slot on Wednesday. Both will take a full exam period. Please be sure to bring a calculator to both exams. For the MC exam, you will need a number two pencil.

These Weeks in Physics
We’ll start by wrapping up our unit on energy. Please take notes on Podcast 12 – Conservation of EnergyPodcast 13 – Conservation of Energy Sample Problem 1, and Podcast 14 – Conservation of Energy Sample Problem 2 for Tuesday, January 5. We will cover these topics and will do the remaining assignments for the unit. We’ll also run an experiment. Be sure to begin studying for exams as soon as possible, as we will not spend significant class time reviewing.

Cool Science of these Weeks
Check out the top scientific breakthroughs of 2015 as chosen by the American Association for the Advancement of Science: The unearthing of a “new” proto-human species, an Ebola vaccine, and genetic engineering rank among other exciting discoveries made during this year.

Week of December 14, 2015

Did you know that this is the last week of school before winter break?

This Week in AP Physics
For Monday please finish just the angular kinematics problems from the book (not the whole packet.) We will finish angular kinematics on Monday and will then begin exploring angular dynamics on Tuesday, Wednesday, and possibly Thursday. Our test over the momentum unit and the circular and rotational motion unit will be on Thursday or Friday. If it is on Thursday, expect to do an experiment on circular motion on Friday.

This Week in Physics
On Monday we will do assignment 1 from the energy unit followed by a quiz as announced. For Tuesday please take notes on Podcast 5 – Work and Podcast 6 – Positive & Negative WorkPodcast 7 – Work-Energy TheoremEnergy Podcast 8 – Work-Energy Theorem Sample Problem 1Energy Podcast 9 – Work-Energy Theorem Sample Problem 2Energy Podcast 10 – Work-Energy Theorem Sample Problem 3, and Energy Podcast 11 – Work-Energy Theorem Sample Problem 4These are a lot of notes, so you should get started on them this weekend if possible. We’ll go over these and will do assignment 2 followed by a quiz as announced. When announced, you may need to take notes on Podcast 12 – Conservation of EnergyPodcast 13 – Conservation of Energy Sample Problem 1, and Podcast 14 – Conservation of Energy Sample Problem 2.

Cool Science of the Week
This past week scientists announced evidence that beluga whales (already known to be curious and “friendly” with humans) may have a complex BUBBLE language! It turns out that they blow bubbles based upon their moods, and males and females tend to blow mood bubbles in different amounts! Check out this adorable bubble that seems to be associated with a playful mood. 🙂

Week of December 7, 2015

There are two weeks left until break and a little over five weeks until semester exams. Time is flying!

This Week in AP Physics
We will continue to explore circular and rotational motion with some exceptionally interesting notes, some challenging practice problems that will spill into homework, and our first of two experiments for this unit. You will have a formal lab report due for this experiment (but not for the second one.) Also, please expect a unit test at the end of next week. Important note: If you are interested in a test prep book, you may want to check out these new book reviews by an independent educational website. There are certainly some books I would caution against, and they are listed here along with some ones that may be better.

This Week in Physics
1st period: We will finish the extra experiment that we started this past Thursday and will then explore Newton’s third law, culminating in assignment 6, which we will do together in class. Expect a test on Wednesday or Thursday. Next up: Energy…For Friday please take notes on Podcast 1 – Gravitational Potential EnergyPodcast 2 – Positive & Negative Potential EnergyPodcast 3 – Elastic Potential Energy, and Energy Podcast 4 – Kinetic Energy. We will do energy assignment 1 together in class.
3rd period: For Monday please finish assignment 5, which is due (completed) at the start of class on Monday. We will go over this assignment on Monday and will then explore Newton’s third law, culminating in assignment 6, which we will do together in class. Expect a test on Thursday or Friday. Next up: Energy…For Friday please take notes on Podcast 1 – Gravitational Potential EnergyPodcast 2 – Positive & Negative Potential EnergyPodcast 3 – Elastic Potential Energy, and Energy Podcast 4 – Kinetic Energy. We will do energy assignment 1 together in class.
6th period: On Monday we will take a quiz over Newton’s second law and will then explore Newton’s third law, culminating in assignment 6, which we will do together in class. Expect a test on Wednesday or Thursday. Next up: Energy…For Friday please take notes on Podcast 1 – Gravitational Potential EnergyPodcast 2 – Positive & Negative Potential EnergyPodcast 3 – Elastic Potential Energy, and Energy Podcast 4 – Kinetic Energy. We will do energy assignment 1 together in class.

Cool Science of the Week
Researchers this week announced the development of an actual “tractor beam.” Using sound waves, the device can lift and move objects invisibly. What I think is the coolest potential use of this technology is the possible ability to create the experience of gravity (or artificial gravity, as it’s more commonly called.) Gravity is a force that requires the interaction of masses, so the creation of actual gravity in a spaceship or space station is impossible unless the spaceship has the same mass as Earth (although it could be simulated by spinning the craft just right.) However, perhaps these sound waves could create an experience similar to gravity by creating forces from above, allowing humans to maneuver in a space craft the way they do on Earth. (This could even help improve muscle tone in space – a problem for astronauts.)
Sonic Tractor Beam