Dot Physics

Archives for February, 2009

The price of a piece of LEGO

This idea comes from my friend Thomas. His son is like mine in that they both think LEGO are awesome, and they are correct. For some reason, Thomas decided to calculate the price per piece of LEGO in each set. To promote repeatability, I decided to do this also. Looking at the catalog at LEGO.com,…

First, I think we should all be using smaller lighter cars. They get better gas mileage, they are better for the environment and maybe even reduce traffic? (ok, not sure about that last one – but it is possible). In Buzz Out Loud 918, they were discussing Toyota working on new car bodies built from…

Tests, study guides and google

I overheard this high school student complaining about a teacher. Here is essentially what she said (about a class her friend is in): “This teacher is crazy. He said we have a test the next day and he gave them a study guide. But he didn’t give the answers to the study guide. My friend…

Projectile Motion with a Spreadsheet

Basically, the title says it all. Here is a short tutorial on projectile motion calculations with a spreadsheet. Record your screencast online I left out a lot of details, so maybe these links will help: Spreadsheet tutorial for numerical calculations (video) More details on numerical calculations Projectile motion

Models, photons, and more

Quantum mechanics is not my area of expertise. Really, I have no area of expertise. However, I think it is time to bring the whole photon thing back up. Yes, I know I was a little harsh before. Maybe I should start over. First, models. Yes models. I think science is all about models. Scientists…

Friction Demo with a meterstick

This is one of my favorite demos. Easy to do and doesn’t really require any equipment. The basic idea is that you support a meter stick horizontally with two fingers. Slide your fingers in and they will both meet at the center of mass. Here is a video. Meterstick friction demo from Rhett Allain on…

After talking about textbooks, commenter Kevin posed the question: which would cost more, printing out a free book or reusing a purchased textbook. Great question. How about some quick estimation (some of this stuff I have no clue about). First, how much do high school textbooks cost? Probably the most popular is Glencoe Physics: Principles…

Leaving a Class for a discussion

I saw this some time ago, probably in The Teaching Professor online magazine thingy. The basic idea is to leave your class alone when they are having a discussion. I have done this a couple of times. Yesterday was the first time this semester. Here is the deal. In this class (Physics for Elementary Education…

I previously talked about textbooks and how there is clearly a problem. The CK-12 Foundation is trying to do something about this problem with the flexbook. Basically, the flexbook allows teachers to create their own text by combining different free content. You can customize a book that closely meets the needs of the class. I…

Stop Motion Animations – for free

The first thing from AAPT that I would like to mention is SAM Animation that Brian Gravel demonstrated. SAM is free software that allows for the easy creation of stop motion animations. Basically, you use a web camera to take successive pictures and put them together as a movie. The software includes features (I think…