Dot Physics

Archives for January, 2010

The speed of exploding Galacticus

This is really random, but quick. I was channel surfing and saw the end of the movie: Fantastic 4 – Rise of the Silver Surfer. SPOILER: At the end someone really big explodes in space. There, that wasn’t too much of a spoiler, was it? (unless you read the title) I know I am a…

Science Fair for Mere Mortals

After judging the science fair last week, I would like to revisit my tips for you the science fair participant. Warning number 1 Some of the things I say here might go against what your teacher has told you. I am not sure what you should do in this case. Your teacher gives you a…

Be Less Helpful: The Reddit Version

Here, I am referring to Dan Meyer’s “Be Less Helpful” mantra. I like it, but maybe you aren’t familiar with Dan. Here is his take on a high school physics problem. Or maybe you would like the video version: Be Less Helpful – CMC North 2009 – Dan Meyer from Dan Meyer on Vimeo. What…

Yo-Yo: Rolling, sliding, pulling

This is actually been sitting around for a while waiting for me to post it. Here is another short Christmas-toy demo. I am going to pull this yo-yo at different angles and on two different surfaces. Check it out. What is going on here? Let me look at the first case where I pull the…

Teaching Tip: Blank Paper

This is one of my favorite things to do in class. I don’t do it too often, or it would lose its specialness. Probably the best time to do this is near the end of class. I pass out half-sheets of blank scrap paper. Students are told to write a question on the paper and…

PlayLab and Informal Science

There is a question that keeps coming up in discussions I have. “What should elementary students study in science?” Probably the best answer to this question is: something other than what they are doing now. What do I think students should know about science? Should they learn how to calculate kinetic energy? Should they learn…

R2 flying at a constant speed

Since my previous post on R2-D2 flying was so popular, I thought I would follow it up. I was going to add these two points in the comments, but a separate post seems to make more sense. Point 1 – R2 flies at a constant speed Well, he obviously doesn’t always have to fly at…

Flying R2-D2, you are doing it wrong

You know I can’t help but like Star Wars. Even with the new stuff, I watch it. Recently, I was watching the Clone Wars cartoon and noticed something odd about the way R2-D2 flies. I know what you are saying….”the odd thing is that he flies at all. Why didn’t he fly in episodes 4-6?”…

Motion of a Dart in Bloons

I stumbled on this flash game Bloons. The basic idea is that you (the monkey) throw these darts and try to pop some balloons. Well, what is the motion of these darts like? Is it constant acceleration? Time to pull out the free and awesome Tracker Video Analysis. I threw a few shots and captured…

Imported Archive – top posts

It is not exactly finished, but I have moved over all of my old posts from my previous site. If you want to browse, feel free to look at the archives. Some of those are not too interesting, so I will just list the pages with the most views (but I will leave out my…