Archive for April, 2009

Field Trips Page!

I’ve gotten the Field Trips Page up and running! You’ll find lists of great field trip destinations by state and city along with notes about any blog posts I’ve written about those posts.

Please feel free to give feedback and suggestions!

Physics Crosswords

Every morning I like to do the Codeword games on Brainbashers.com

This morning, I found there are Physics crossword puzzles!!! I have done the first two so far (you can change puzzles in the bottom left hand corner of the screen). The first was a bit advanced for high school students, but the second one was much more appropriate. It might take some work to find the appropriate puzzle for a given class, but it’s comprehensive and covers roughly a whole year of Physics.

Along the same lines, there are website such as Crossword Puzzle Games where you can create your own crossword puzzle for free. This makes it easy to customize puzzles for use in your classroom!

Crazy Creme Egg Contraption

Just found this neat video courtesy of SteveSpangler.com

Things To Do with a Cadbury Egg

Good Science/Good Parents

While standing in line at the post office today, I was waiting behind a mother with her 3 or 4 year old daughter. I love being in line with young children. It’s such a pleasure to be in that situation because most kids will wander away from mom or dad in order to explore their surroundings. Today’s little explorer was pushing the doors on the trash cans and watching them swing. She turned to her mother with glee in her eyes…

“Stop that. You’ll pinch your fingers.”

#1) I could not believe that the mom would snap at her daughter like that.

#2) If the mother had just let her daughter play with the swinging doors a bit longer, she might have pinched her finger. If she had pinched her finger, she might have thought about the door’s mass (in the vernacular, of course) and how it swings rather quickly, not leaving enough time for her fingers to escape. 

Sometimes kids get hurt, but they learn through those experiences. When my husband was a child, he scraped an iron across his face; he has never forgotten that irons get hot. Kids learn from mistakes just as adults do.

I am disappointed that parents think it’s more important for a child to not pinch their fingers, than to learn about the physical world. I strongly believe a child’s aptitude or liking for science is linked to the freedom a parent gives their child to discover and explore.

Of course I’m not saying I’m going to jump off the Empire State Building in order to prove gravity exists, but lets give our kids the chance to be little scientists in their own little worlds.

That is, after all, where most scientists get their start.

Check out a dad who’s encouraging his kids to explore the world.

from Corbis.com

from Corbis.com

Science Books On My To Do List

Here’s a list of books that have been recommended to me, but I haven’t yet had the chance to read. I’m really excited to read them in the near future. If you are as well, I’ve linked the image of the book to the amazon.com website where you can buy it!

 

Mr. Tompkins Series

Mr Tompkins has become known and loved by many thousands of readers (since his first appearance over fifty years ago) as the bank clerk whose fantastic dreams and adventures lead him into a world inside the atom. George Gamow’s classic provides a delightful explanation of the central concepts in modern physics, from atomic structure to relativity, and quantum theory to fusion and fission. Roger Penrose’s new foreword introduces Mr Tompkins to a new generation of readers, and reviews his adventures in the light of current developments in physics today. (from Amazon)

 

Alice in Quantum Land

Alice is about to enter a whole new Wonderland. It’s Quantumland–a kind of intellectual amusement park, smaller than an atom, where each attraction demonstrates a different aspect of quantum theory. There she’ll meet an Emperor who thinks his new clothes into existence, dance with the Three Quark Brothers at the Particle MASSquerade, travel back in time (running into herself), and experience all kinds of quantum effects. Readers will learn about the Uncertainty Principle, wave functions, the Pauli Principle, and other elusive concepts. (from springer.com)


Flatland

Written under the pseudonym “a square”as a satire, Flatland offered pointed observations on the social hierarchy of Victorian culture. However, the novella’s more enduring contribution is its examination of dimensions; in a foreword to one of the many publications of the novella, noted science writer Isaac Asimov described Flatland as “The best introduction one can find into the manner of perceiving dimensions.”As such, the novella is still popular amongst mathematics,physics and computer science students. (from Wikipedia)

 

Flatterlands

Almost 100 years after A. (which we find out stands for Albert) Square’s adventures in Spacelandthat were related in Flatland, his great-great-granddaughter, Victoria Line (Vikki), finds a copy of his book in her basement. This prompts her to invite a sphere from Spaceland to visit her, but instead she is visited by the “Space Hopper” (a character looking somewhat like the “Space Hopper” children’s toy with a gigantic grin, horns and a spherical body). The Space Hopper, more than being able to move between Flatland and Spaceland, can travel to any space in the Mathiverse, a set of all imaginable worlds. After showing Vikki higher dimensions, he begins showing her more modern theories, such as fractional dimensions and dimensions with isolated points. Topology and hyperbolic geometryare also discussed, as well as the Projective “Plain” (complete with intersecting “lions”) and the quantum level. Hopper and Victoria also visit the Domain of the Hawk King to discuss time travel and the Theory of Relativity. (from Wikipedia)

Physics Teacher Website

The Physics Classroom (LINK) is a fabulous website for physics classrooms. I love it!!

Basically, it is an online physics tutorial which includes mini-lessons that check for understanding, media to illustrate physical phenomena, and miscellaneous help for specific concepts and skills.

For example, here’s a tutorial for Work, Energy, & Power.

An animation of the energy involved in a roller coaster can be found here.

In the miscellaneous section, there’s a special section for vector addition.

Newton’s Cradle Creme Egg

Happy Easter!