# Punkin Chunkin – why work to be wrong?

Here is the deal. Why would you put a lot of effort into explaining something wrong? I just don’t get it. Wouldn’t it be easier and better to just not say anything? The particular show I am ranting about is the 2008 Punkin Chunkin on Discovery (I think). Fairly ok show, but they should have…

# Textbooks: where are they going?

In the past couple of weeks, we have had two different publishers ‘pitch’ their online homework system. First, they are fine people and interesting products, but I just don’t think this is going to work. Online Books I think the publisher’s plan is to have a textbook, and offer extra stuff to go with it…

# Demo: How to not spill your drinks

I know I saw this demo somewhere. Maybe it was at an AAPT conference a few years ago. I have always wanted to build this, but never got around to it. Until now. Here is the demo (it is easy, you should make one too) So, how does this work? I think the simplest explanation…

# Circular Motion Lab

Sometimes it is difficult to come up with new labs. Ideally, a lab should show use some of the basic physics principles as well as have something the students can measure. What to do with circular motion? I don’t know how I forgot this, but here is a lab I used to do as an…

# Rutherford scattering toy, and more

My friend Konrad showed me this awesome toy he made. I know it doesn’t make sense yet, so let me explain. Basically, you take this marble and roll it down the tray through the pegs. The pegs sort of randomize where the marble rolls through the hidden section. Inside the hidden section, it looks like…

# More projectile motion than you can shake a stick at

I don’t really know what that title actually means. So, I have been having problems with my PASCO projectile launcher devices. I will just call them launchers (they are really cannons). In my previous post, I looked at the launch speed from a launcher shot horizontally and vertically. The problem was that I was getting…

# I sure like student response systems (AKA ‘clickers’)

The basic idea of the student response system is that each student gets some electronical (or not – see below) device that lets them answer multiple-choice questions. (Science Geek Girl has a good summary of clickers also) A computer then displays the distribution of responses for the class. Simple, no? They are becoming super popular,…

# More Measurements of the Projectile Velocity

The last time I looked at this projectile motion lab, I was confused. My different methods for measuring the launch speed of the ball were not even close to being consistent. So, I am bringing out the big guns – video. I made a video of the ball shot both horizontally off the table and…

# Fake Videos Presentation

I put together this short presentation on fake videos for a class. What the heck, I will also put it online so that maybe some other people can use it. So, here it is. I have it in many forms. First, a video of me going through the talk. Then I have the keynote and…

# MythBusters and the physics of knock your socks off

The other myth the MythBusters looked at last week was the phrase “knock your socks off” (along with the dropping and shooting a bullet myth). But before that, let me complain. Maybe it is just me, but I totally cringe when these guys use the word ‘force’. Force probably isn’t the best term to use…