Week of February 29, 2016

I’m going to avoid Leap Day puns, so let’s just jump ahead to business…

This Week in AP Physics
We will continue our study of electrostatics by exploring electric fields, electric potential energy, electric potential, and potential difference. If you think that’s a lot of sound-alike stuff, you’re right! We’ll sort it out, but bring your will power! Expect a test by the end of the week. Time permitting we’ll conduct our final experiment for the unit. Up next: CIRCUITS!!! (So.much.fun!)

This Week in Physics
We will complete our study of circular motion, gravitation, and planetary orbits with one last assignment and our unit test on Tuesday or Wednesday. Your formal lab report for the circular motion experiment is due on Tuesday but will be extended to Wednesday if our test is on Tuesday. (Remember that the hardcopy of your lab 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 address 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.) Up next: Electrostatics! For the day after we take the circular motion test, please take notes on Electrostatics Podcast 1 – Introduction to Charge and Electrostatics Podcast 2 – Conductors, Insulators, and Charging, and for the next day, please take notes on Podcast 3 – Electric Force.

Cool Science of the Week
It’s Leap Day on Monday! What you may not realize is that there is a scientific reason we add a calendar day every four years. It turns out that a full year is actually 365.256363 days long. What to do with that extra quarter of a day that builds up every year? If we didn’t add a calendar day every four years, eventually our calendar would nudge its way backwards, making our calendar out of sync with the seasons. (You may notice that our orbit isn’t exactly 365.25 days long, so eventually that adds up, too. We do have ways with dealing with THAT, but you’ll have to watch the video to get that part of the story.)

Week of February 22, 2016

This Week in AP Physics
We will begin exploring our electrostatics unit in earnest. Our first focus will be the nature of charge, methods of charging, and electric force. We’ll punctuate this topic with the Charging by Induction lab, which is a fun one! (Of course, they’re all fun, right?) Expect a doozy of a problem set, and then things start to get a little more relaxed as we explore electric field with notes, problems, and a really cool experiment (and I mean that – It’s a particularly cool one that people tend to love.) This will likely spill into next week, when we will finish the unit by exploring electric potential energy and electric potential. Finally, your lab report for your Behavior of Gases lab is due on Friday. (Remember that the hardcopy of your lab 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 address for email correspondence. Be sure to use the lab document as well as the lab report writing guide and lab report rubricas you write.)

This Week in Physics
We will start the week by clarifying some final points about circular motion and doing the experiment we were unable to get to last week due to scheduling. (You will have a lab report to write for this experiment, and the due date will be announced in next week’s blog.) Expect a quiz over the topic of circular motion by midweek. Also, when announced, please take notes on Podcast 5 – Gravity and Podcast 6 – Center of Mass, Gravity, and Planetary Orbits. We will cover these topics and do assignment 2. Expect a unit test next week.

Cool Science of the Week
Want to know if an earthquake is coming? There’s now an app for that! MyShake gives you a readout of current seismic conditions and can provide you with a few seconds of warning, since it can detect seismic changes before you do. Interesting! (Currently only available for Android, with an Apple version in development. It is a free app. Disclaimer: I don’t own any part of the app (darn it!))

Week of February 15, 2016

Take Monday off. I mean it!

This Week in AP Physics
We will cover the second law of thermodynamics and discuss one of the creepiest of topics, entropy! Expect some practice problems and a test by the end of the week, ideally by Thursday at the latest. Please remember that there are a number of resources on our unit webpage to support your learning. This is an invisible topic, so the animations and simulations are important. Our next topic will be electrostatics, which is always fun! Note: Your formal lab report for the ideal gas law experiment will be due next Tuesday, February 23rd. (Remember that the hardcopy of your lab 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 address 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.)

This Week in Physics
We will continue to explore circular motion by diving into the details of the podcasts you watched for last Thursday. In addition, by Wednesday please take notes on Podcast 3 – Formulas and Podcast 4 – Centripetal Force. We will do an assignment and an experiment in class. You will have a lab report to write for this experiment, and the due date will be announced in next week’s blog.

Cool School of the Week!
Instead of looking at Cool Science of the Week, let’s look at the fact that we won the Cool School of the Week award! Check out the video!

Week of February 8, 2016

This Week in AP Physics
On Monday and into Tuesday we’ll continue to explore thermodynamics by examining the kinetic theory of an ideal gas with notes, practice problems, and homework. (We will also do an experiment on this topic as the week goes on. This lab report for this experiment will be due next week, as announced.) Later in the week we’ll cover the first law of thermodynamics and will do practice problems, homework, and an experiment. Expect a test by the end of next week. Be sure to use the extra resources on the unit webpage. 🙂 Next up: Electrostatics!

This Week in Physics
On Monday and Tuesday we will wrap up unit 5 (momentum) by finishing assignment 4 and doing an experiment. The unit test will be on Wednesday. Next up we will examine circular motion. For Thursday, be sure to take notes on Circular Motion Podcast 1 – Introduction to Circular Motion and Circular Motion Podcast 2 – Circular Motion Formulas, and for Friday please take notes on Circular Motion Podcast 3 – Formulas and Circular Motion Podcast 4 – Centripetal Force.

Cool Science of the Week
Scientists have recently found fossilized evidence of Jurassic “butterflies” from 150 million years ago. What’s so remarkable about this is that these critters were completely unrelated biologically to modern butterflies, yet they look almost exactly like them – right down to the eye spot on the wings! How weird is it that butterflies could develop TWICE?!? Also, these lacewings (not called butterflies because they’re not related to butterflies) didn’t drink nectar from flowers but, rather, drank nectar from nonflowering plants, because there weren’t even flowers yet! (Hard to think of!) Check out the similarity between the modern owl butterfly and the ancient lacewing in the photo below…Wow!
Butterfly and Lacewing