# Mastery Learning in High School Chemistry

I saw this over at ScienceGeekGirl which links to a video from two high school chemistry teachers in Colorado. The two teachers describe how they modified their chemistry courses. ScienceGeekGirl gives an excellent summary of their changes and motivations, so here is the short and dirty version: They realized that their traditional lecture based course…

# Basics: Collisions (Interactions between two objects)

Pre Reqs: momentum principle, forces,energy, vectors Really, there is not much new here. This is an introduction to objects that interact. To describe this, I will need to pull several different ideas together (that you have probably already looked at). Let me start with a simple case. Suppose I have two objects, maybe they are…

# Snow-a-lama-ding dong – in Louisiana???

I was going to go to school and give a final. I guess that is not going to happen now. My daughter measured 7 inches of snow – in Hammond, Louisiana (50 miles from New Orleans). Here are some pictures – more to come (plus video). From Winter Storm 2008 From Winter Storm 2008 From…

# Learning in College and the role of instructors

There is something that has been bothering me about students learning in college. The question is, how much do I treat students like adults and how much do I treat them like children? I have been leaning towards treating them like adults. For example: do I require them to come to class? Right now, no.…

# Physics and directly downwind faster than the wind (DWFTTW) vehicles

A commenter (Joe) suggested I look at vehicles powered by the wind that can move faster than the wind. This also came up on Swans on Tea. One of Joe’s points was that I should do this BEFORE MythBuster’s gets to it. And so I shall. I know this is one of those topics that…

# VPython 5.0 is out – why am I so happy?

VPython 5.0 is mostly out (in release candidate). To tell you the truth, I have been holding off on some vpython programs because I wanted to do them in the NEW vpython, not the OLD vpython. So, if you want to get the new vpython, go to http://vpython.org/index5.html. What is so great about VPython 5.0?…

# Charging a cell phone with sound – possible?

This comes from Buzz Out Loud Episode 865 which got the story from Slashdot regarding a possible new technology that would use piezoelectric devices to charge cell phones while you talk. The original article the slashdot story pointed to talked mostly about the advances in piezoelectric devices, but I want to look at the possibility…

# Christmas tree lights – surprisingly cool

Let me start off by saying I think I first read about this on HowStuffWorks.com (many years ago). So, why are christmas lights so cool? They are cool because they are a whole bunch of lights in series, but they still work if one of the bulbs gets burnt out. If you are not familiar…

# Speed of sound in football stadium

Ok – I like Alabama football (sorry, but it’s true). There is a clip on youtube of the end of the Alabama-Auburn game where the fans sing the traditional “Rammer Jammer”. If you don’t know what that is, don’t worry. I am not sure I completely approve of the cheer, but it is a tradition.…

# Teach your child to ride a bike

For many people, it is the time of the year to put the bikes away. I live in Louisiana, so now is the time to get the bikes out (too hot in the summer). Learning to ride a bike is a curious thing. Most parents use training wheels to get kids started. I do not…