I ran across this dark and early this morning and thought it might be of interest to juniors and seniors, especially given how often I see students worrying about carrying files on thumb drives, e-mailing things to themselves, etc.
This service is called Copy, and what it does is places a folder on your computer called COPY. You can also access it over the Internet. Anything you put in that COPY folder is automatically sync'ed to all of your accounts. So, for example, if you saved a file to your COPY folder at school, then go home and open your COPY folder, all your documents will be there, available at home, and up to date. It includes apps for Mac, Windows, as well as mobile devices, and is quite easy to use. Could be mighty useful for those of you going off to college next year as you work on your personal computers, in school computer labs, etc., as well as those in the high school doing group work and projects.
Hope you find it valuable -- just for signing up you get 15 GB free, and another 5GB when you install the app/folder on your computer.
It's been a crazy couple months, but last night I finished up the flipped class videos covering the entire AP Physics C: Mechanics curriculum. My goal was to try and target all the major points of the course requirements in roughly 6 hours worth of videos, realizing, of course, that students would need some background in physics in order to handle the material at this speed. I have a bit of tweaking to do (there's a minor math typo in the SHM video, for example, that I'll redo at my earliest convenience), but I'm pretty excited that the entire set of videos clocks in right around 6:18:00.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]544[/ATTACH]When people first hear this, the typical reaction I receive is "you must not have done a good job to cover all that material in such a short period of time." I look at it from the alternate perspective -- I'm boiling down the course into the key concepts and examples that illustrate them. These videos are not meant to be a substitute for an in-the-classroom standard course -- far from it, for that purpose, they would be an abysmal failure (as, I imagine, any video-based system would fail). Instead, these are meant as an additional resource, a tool, for students to review the take-away highlights from each subject, reinforcing major principles and applications.
Physics is something you do, not something you know, therefore the meat of any course is taking resources such as these and applying them in a variety of situations. Practice, exploration, discovery -- that's how you learn. But having a concise review available on demand certainly can't hurt.
So, for those interested in such a resource, I hope you find these videos useful and enjoyable. At the beginning of the year I'd never planned to undertake this project, but student requests in early September got me started, and ongoing feedback on the value of these has been tremendous. Our most recent unit, in which I completely flipped the classroom (absolutely no lecture in class, students watched videos at night and each day was hands-on exploration, lab, group problem solving, and reflection) led to the highest end-of-unit exam grades I've seen from a class to date. This reinforces how effective this method of instruction can be with motivated students who engage fully in the process.
In short, I hope others are also able to take some value from these videos. For the 6 hours of completed videos, I would estimate I've put in close to 120 hours of work (organizing, researching, presenting, taping, re-taping, re-re-taping, editing, producing, etc.) beyond what I would have done just to teach my standard lectures, but I believe I've created a resource I can use again and again, year after year, tweaking and updating the videos as I find improved methods and alternate explanations. Not sure I want to take on the E&M half of the course this year… I have a ton of other projects on my docket (some of which are quite extensive with looming deadlines), but would love your feedback if you find these of value, if you don't, or if you'd like to see E&M completed as well.
Make it a great day!
Link to AP Physics C: Mechanics videos
Link to AP Physics C: Mechanics guide sheets (accompany videos)
(PS -- did you know APlusPhysics has a facebook page? https://www.facebook.com/pages/APlusPhysics-Regents-Physics-Essentials-and-Honors-Physics-Essentials/217361071607226?ref=hl
If you're interested in publicizing your blogs outside just the APlusPhysics community, and perhaps put yourself up for a Blog of the Year award in 2011, consider listing your blog at Edublogs. You can click here to submit your blog for inclusion in their directory of educational blogs. You can find your RSS feed by clicking on the small orange RSS button on the top right of your blog!
You Are Edison... Brilliant, methodical, patient. Edisons believe in using teamwork to solve problems. They see the value in testing 800 compounds before finding the right one. It may not be as sexy as getting it right on the first try, but without thinkers like you, we'd all be in the dark.
What does the quiz say about you?
Didn't get nearly the progress made this weekend that I had hoped, as I'm definitely bogging down in the Regents Kinematics Content section of the website... taking some time to organize how best to deliver the material over an online medium. What seems so straightforward to teach in person, where you can fairly easily "hop around" to various topics to pull it all together, can get quite dicey when putting it in writing. :banghead) I also want to make sure I include plenty of sample problems, as I believe what will set APlusPhysics apart is its worked out problems. And of course, as you move into acceleration and then into d-t, v-t, and a-t graphs, graphics and animations can make all the difference. Guess I'm gonna have to brush up on these in the next couple weeks.
In the meantime, though, as I have had a few 20 and 30-minute free spells over the weekend, I've cleaned up some of the Forum settings, fixed up the Physics In Action Podcast content page, added the Projects --> Speaker competition page, and converted my old Momentum WebQuest into the APlusPhysics template and added that under Educators --> Activities.
Continue Regents content development
Create a formal lab report guidelines page (not sure where best to place this yet...)
Get the "About" pages started
Add rating system to the APlusPhysics Forums
Test out the Blogging System for use as a simple course management system
Scientists have been measuring the universal gravitational constant, G, for hundreds of years. But, how accurate are they in their measurements? Is G truly a constant? It’s a question physicists and astronomers continue to debate. Due to variations in experimentally obtained values for G, a number of postulates have been proposed which note that G may vary with time, and could be dependent on orientation, surrounding masses, even the curvature of space time!
Complicating matters, experimental error in the determination of G is typically estimated at 1%, even with modern measuring equipment. Is G really a constant? Does it vary within this +/- 1% window? Is Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation complete, or is there more to it? Recent studies continue to explore and debate these questions.
From New Scientist Magazine
A BALL spinning in a vacuum should never slow down, since no outside forces are acting on it. At least that's what Newton would have said. But what if the vacuum itself creates a type of friction that puts the brakes on spinning objects? The effect, which might soon be detectable, could act on interstellar dust grains.
In quantum mechanics, the uncertainty principle says we can never be sure that an apparent vacuum is truly empty. Instead, space is fizzing with photons that are constantly popping into and out of existence before they can be measured directly. Even though they appear only fleetingly, these "virtual" photons exert the same electromagnetic forces on the objects they encounter as normal photons do.
Now, Alejandro Manjavacas and F. Javier García de Abajo of the Institute of Optics at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid say these forces should slow down spinning objects. Just as a head-on collision packs a bigger punch than a tap between two cars one behind the other, a virtual photon hitting an object in the direction opposite to its spin collides with greater force than if it hits in the same direction.
So over time, a spinning object will gradually slow down, even if equal numbers of virtual photons bombard it from all sides. The rotational energy it loses is then emitted as real, detectable photons (Physical Review A, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevA.82.063827).
The strength of the effect depends on the object's make-up and size. Objects whose electronic properties prevent them from easily absorbing electromagnetic waves, such as gold, may decelerate little or not at all. But small, low-density particles, which have less rotational momentum, slow down dramatically.
The rate of deceleration also depends on temperature, since the hotter it is the more virtual photons pop in and out of existence, producing the friction. At room temperature, a 100-nanometre-wide grain of graphite, the kind that is abundant in interstellar dust, would take about 10 years to slow to about one-third of its initial speed. At 700 °C, an average temperature for hot areas of the universe, that same speed decrease would take only 90 days. In the cold of interstellar space, it would take 2.7 million years.
Could this effect be tested in the lab? Manjavacas says the experiment would require an ultra-high vacuum and high-precision lasers to trap the nanoparticles, conditions that are "demanding but reachable in the foreseeable future".
John Pendry of Imperial College in London calls the analysis a "fine piece of work" and says it could provide insights into whether quantum information is ever destroyed, for example, when it falls into a black hole. He says the real photons emitted during the deceleration process should contain information about the quantum state of the spinning particle, much as the photons thought to escape from black holes as Hawking radiation are thought to encode information about the holes.
"This is one of the few elementary processes that converts what appears to be purely classical mechanical energy into a highly correlated quantum state," Pendry says.
Read full article here...
We have some exciting news! The free APlusPhysics website has been selected as a finalist in a contest to receive a free professional site redesign, but we need your help! Voting for the contest finalists is open now through Dec. 20, and we need all the help we can get. As a member of the APlusPhysics community, any help you can provide by voting and/or spreading the word would be greatly appreciated.
You can vote by visiting the following link: https://www.facebook.com/LogoSnap/app_127709503932081
Thank you so much for your time and support. We're thrilled to continue bringing quality physics education materials to the public, and wish you and your families all the best this holiday season. Make it a great day!
So, not long ago I came across a sandbox simulation software package / game called Kerbal Space Program. It allows you to build space vehicles on the fictional planet of Kerbal, launch the vehicles, attempt to put Kerbals into orbit, help them travel to other planets, etc. etc. Cute. But as I looked into it a little more, it has quite a bit of scientific and educational merit. The physics modeling is pretty good, the game is extremely addictive, and I believe it could be a great way to help students in my AP Physics C course transition from pure physics to applied physics and engineering in our last few weeks of school following the AP Exam. So I bought the game. Or, rather, I bought a copy, and the school bought five copies for the kids!
Right now I'm still working out the details of the project. In general, though, I think it'd be fun to have the kids work through the simulation with a set of challenges as part of a "space race." Each group of 3 students will form their own space exploration team. With safety of all Kerbals as their prime directive, they will be asked to complete a series of tasks, documenting and analyzing their work along with each design and launch, and sharing their findings with the other teams through the use of blogging. In this manner, we'll begin to combine technical writing, project management, and even risk management with an addictive game centered around physics principles!
I'm thinking their challenges may look something like:
Launch an unmanned rocket
Launch a manned rocket safety
Safely put a Kerbal in orbit (and bring him home)
Safely land a Kerbal on the Mun (and bring him home)
Safely land a Kerbal on a distant planet (and bring him home)
In just playing with the sim for a few minutes tonight, I managed to put a Kerbal in orbit, but them promptly left him there as I played around with an extra-vehicular activity walk… and then couldn't bring him back in as my command pod was out of fuel. Should be a hoot to see how the kids do, and if anyone else has played with the sim, wants to join us in our "experiment," etc., we'd love to work with others!
Hello high school physics teachers! My name is Rob Pearson, and I’m director of microelectronic engineering programs at Rochester Institute of Technology.
I really like what I do and I want to tell you why. I also want to tell you why I am sharing this with you. I bet you would like to see students more engaged with the concepts you teach and the math employed in your courses. I am an engineer, so I think about problem solving (applications) first and basic science second. But like any good engineer (think MacGyver, to use an outdated reference) I know that I need to be handy with tools like math and physics if I am going to do anything useful. Come to think about it, why didn’t MacGyver ever say he was an engineer? What if your student could help solve challenging problems, use math and science every day, and have a rewarding career and also make a good salary? Typical bachelor of science graduates of RIT’s microelectronic engineering program receive multiple job offers with average starting salaries in the $60-70k range.
Now back to what I do as an electrical engineer. Some aspects of electrical engineering can be dry and theoretical, but I fabricate semiconductor devices — millions of them on a chip and billions of them on each silicon wafer. The process of making these “magical” semiconductor systems is intricate and uses lots of physics, optics, mechanics, chemistry, you name it. So how does this relate to your physics course? Let me give you some examples. You teach about the Lorentz force and the right-hand rule. You could use a motor winding to illustrate the usefulness but I can give you another example the mixes physics and chemistry. We introduce elements from groups III and V on the periodic table into silicon (group IV) to change the conductivity of the silicon and make our devices. One way to introduce these elements is by ion implantation. Ion implanter functionality is based on the Lorentz force. We use tunable electro-magnets to sort ions in a vacuum by mass to charge ratio and then accelerate them using a variable high-voltage (200,000 V) supply. There is plenty of physics to talk about in this tool. Another example is a micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) device called an accelerometer. It consists of a tiny mass on a tiny beam and when the mass is accelerated it produces a proportional electrical signal.
But wait, there’s more! It’s great that I can use these basic science courses and concepts in what I do, but what I really like is communicating the exciting possibilities of what has yet to be designed and built. Look at the changes that have occurred in our phones over just the last five years! They have touch screens, accelerometers, Global Positioning Systems, maps, computers, music players, TVs, videos (3D too!)… they can be video projectors, photo albums, and gaming systems. And that’s just one of many systems that rely on semiconductor products.
What will your students do if they take up a career in this challenging field? Do you remember the tricorder that Dr. McCoy had on Star Trek? That portable medical lab in one compact unit is nearing reality. Great strides are being made in the intersection of electronics, biology, and chemistry. Further miniaturization of electronics is needed to take our current sci fi tech and turn it into practical high tech.
The biggest challenge I face running an undergraduate college engineering program that focuses on microelectronics and semiconductor processing is finding bright young high school students who even know that this field exists. Please help us spread the word.
I hope that maybe you can encourage an interested student or two of yours to go on to study microelectronics or nanotechnology in college, and invite you to learn more about our programs and microelectronics by visiting our web page at http://www.rit.edu/kgcoe/ue/.
Rob Pearson, PhD
Director, Microelectronic Engineering Programs
Rochester Institute of Technology
(Please note that further information about semiconductors and microelectronics in high school can be found as part of the Semiconductor Technology Enrichment Program materials available at APlusPhysics.com. Special thanks to Dr. Rob Pearson for submitting his article as a guest post to Physics In Flux.)
As we close in on the end of our year in high school physics, I thought it’d be helpful to myself (and perhaps to others) to put together a compendium of some of the best Regents/Honors Physics resources to assist students in preparing for their final exams. Without further ado, and in no particular order:
APlusPhysics: Dan Fullerton’s (my) site to assist students and educators specifically around the NY Regents Physics curriculum, which has been expanding and generalizing to curricula outside the state as well. The Regents Physics section of the site, however, is by far the strongest and most complete. This site includes online tutorials covering the entire Regents Physics course, interactive quizzes pulling from a database of hundreds of old Regents Physics Exam questions, video tutorials of every major topic covered by the exam, and is also tied in quite closely with the Regents Physics Essentials review book. In addition, every Regents Physics questions from the past 16 exams has been pulled into worksheets by topic to allow for highly directed practice.
ScienceWithMrNoon: Brendan Noon‘s physics site has a wide variety of great content, including topic-based interactive quizzes and tons of great physics videos. His course calendar, as well, is loaded with tons of great resources by topic!
St. Mary’s Physics: Tony Mangiacapre‘s site, full of great lessons and interactive simulations across the entire Regents Physics curriculum. I’m especially fond of the Photoelectric Effect simulation — makes for a great computer-based lab activity! This site is also closely linked with Tony’s 123physics.com, featuring more than 1300 Regents Physics Exam questions broken down by topic for students to practice, as well as more great videos.
RegentsPrep.org: The Oswego City School District (with Dr. Tom Altman) has pulled together a strong collection of resources broken into Explanations, Demos, Labs, and Quizzes to assist students and educators in preparing for the Regents Physics exam.
Altman Science: The charismatic Dr. Tom Altman provides real-life demonstrations and explanations of physics concepts in action as part of the High School Physics Project. Further, he’s broken down a number of old Regents Exams and walked through solutions to each and every question in video format, page by page. In addition, his laser videos are “wicked cool” as well!
Past Regents Exams: The name says it all — an amazing archive of old Regents Physics exams!
Regents Physics Essentials: I’d feel negligent in my feeble attempts at self-marketing if I didn’t point out the Regents Physics Essentials review book I put together at student urging a few years back. There are a number of great review books to help students get ready for the exam, but this book takes a slightly different twist by providing students a straightforward, clear explanation of the fundamental concepts and more than 500 sample questions with fully-worked out solutions directly integrated in the text. As stated by my physics teaching cohort in crime at our high school, “the best review book is the one students will actually use,” and this was written to be friendly, fun, and concise. Plus, if students/teachers want extra problems without solutions given, the worksheets are available free online! You can check out the book’s free preview on APlusPhysics or use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature!
I’m thrilled to announce that Physics: Fundamentals and Problem Solving has been released for the iPad today. This book, which is for the iPad only, is an algebra-based physics book featuring hundreds of worked-out problems, video mini-lessons, and other interactive elements designed for the introductory physics student.
Topics covered include vectors and scalars, kinematics, dynamics, momentum, circular motion, gravity, rotational motion, work, energy, power, fluids, thermal physics, electrostatics, circuits, magnetism, microelectronics, waves, sound, optics, and selected topics in modern physics.
Physics: Fundamentals and Problem Solving is integrated with the APlusPhysics.com website, which features free online discussion and help forums, student and educator blogs, interactive quizzes, thousands of supplemental problems, and even a student-created physics wiki.
The book requires an iPad and the iBooks 2 application. The non-interactive version, known as Honors Physics Essentials, is available for other iOS devices through the iBooks store; for the Kindle and other devices running the Kindle App through the Kindle Store; for the Nook through the Barnes and Noble Nook Store; and in hard copy format from Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble.
Check out some screenshots from the book below:
As you may have noticed, the last 9 months or so of posts have disappeared… this occurred due to a combination of web hosting problems as well as operator (my) error in restoring backups. Thankfully, only those 9 months worth of posts have been lost, and I’m actively beginning efforts to migrate the entire site to a new host that should not only minimize the possibility of something like this recurring, but should also dramatically speed up the entire site while allowing much more room for future growth. My apologies for the inconvenience, and my thanks for your understanding.http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/JQxfNznEwp0
One of the goals of APlusPhysics.com is to provide students with the resources they need to be successful. As I'm sure you can all imagine, as educators we struggle with finding ways to set our kids up for success. And today's students face a wide variety of challenges that hamper their ability to learn through traditional means. Students who aren't in attendance, for reasons that may range from illness to family issues to special needs, are immediately at a disadvantage in technical classes in which content continues to build throughout the year on an ever-expanding foundation. Throw in the challenges of large class sizes (I'm outnumbered by students by more than 100:1), and regardless of how much time I'd like to devote to each of my kids, there's no way to meet everyone's needs all the time.
Toward this end, APlusPhysics is designed to provide a "home base," of sorts, for all students to begin to learn to teach themselves. The forums provide an opportunity for discourse and an online student-supported "help desk," of sorts. Plus, any time you can get a student writing about what they know, they're solidifying their understanding and building critical thinking skills. If you can get them to teach others while they're at it, you've really built something special. The blog portion of the website is a great way to get students to develop their metacognition, writing about what they do and don't understand, creating an ongoing journal of their learning. It's also a great way to get them to really think about the essential questions in physics, organizing their thoughts to develop "big picture" conceptual understanding of what they're learning, and why.
The main website, still under construction, will house key material central to each of the supported physics courses. I'm starting my work with the NY Regents Physics Curriculum, first, because I currently teach four sections of that course and the material I develop is directly useful to the majority of my students, and secondly, it's the simplest of the physics courses I teach, which provides a terrific sandbox for me to grow my web development skills, hopefully limiting my struggles to the technical side of web building, so that by the time I build the AP-C section out, I can balance content / pedagogical challenges with the (hopefully) less daunting technical challenges.
I also see APlusPhysics as a great resource for the upcoming introduction of the AP-1 and AP-2 courses, being expanded out of the current AP-B curriculum. Currently it appears many of us AP physics teachers are holding in a quasi-limbo state waiting to understand exactly what will be included in each course, to what level, and how we can best integrate it into our school's offerings to provide the best possible learning experiences that will most benefit our students. But the College Board has been slow to disseminate information, updates promised in the fall have not been received, and the teachers continue to wait, as patiently as we can. My goal is to build up the AP-1 and AP-2 sections of the website so that when final announcements are made, we all have a resource we can turn to and utilize as we re-tool our physics programs.
Finally, I want APlusPhysics to be a repository of materials for educators to share the best of our ideas, activities, challenges and successes. The Forum already has an Educators Only section, but I also want to populate the website with activities we can use to bring physics to life for our students, encompassing everything from projects and challenges to mini-programs such as the Semiconductor Technology Enrichment Program (STEP), providing students an introduction into the world of semiconductors, a discipline quite regularly neglected in educational communities despite its profound influence on our daily lives.
So with that, allow me to welcome you to APlusPhysics. I'm hoping to continue utilizing this blog to document my progress in building this resource, both so you as customers / consumers / contributors can see what progress is being made and perhaps even help guide my work to make this a better resource for us all, to allow you to learn from my mistakes, and to organize my own thoughts around what I want to accomplish, and how I can make the vision I have for APlusPhysics a reality.
Make it a great day everyone!
Work continues jointly on three fronts of APlusPhysics... I progressed through several more chapters of Adobe Illustrator CS5 Classroom in a Book (CIB), as it hasn't taken long to realize I need to greatly improve my illustration skills in order to adequately convey the message I want in the courses section of APlusPhysics.
On off-CIB nights, I've been working through the text for the kinematics unit. More and more I'm realizing that I need to quit worrying about perfection in each section, and plow forward with the understanding that of course I'll have to come back and clean up, augment, edit, splice, etc.
Finally, as we finished up our in-class unit on projectile motion, I took some time out to document our Forensics Day work... I believe the activity really stretched the students and gave them a new and unique challenge that is worth sharing with others. Toward that end, I wrote up a brief article and after giving it a few days and a few other pairs of eyes looking over it, may consider submitting to "The Physics Teacher" to share with others.
Onward and upward!
After several weeks of design as well as months of self-training courses, I have the first pass at an entire page for the content section complete! It took some work in Flash Catalyst, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and MathType to put it all together, but I think it's looking swell for attempt #1. Check it out: http://www.aplusphysics.com/courses/regents/mathreview/reg_mathreview.html.
If you don't get an option to upload an image file from your computer when you attempt to insert an image into your posts, you can enable this in the following way:
Go to Settings > General Settings and set Message Editor Interface to "Show Enhanced (WYSIWYG) Editor."
Next time you attempt to upload an image by clicking on the "Insert Image" button ([ATTACH=CONFIG]41[/ATTACH]), you should be given the option of uploading a file directly!
The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.
APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to email@example.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.