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Physics education on the move

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What I Learned at Educator.com Filming AP Physics C in Two Weeks

<p><a href="http://educator.com"><img style="float: right;" title="image.jpeg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/image1.jpeg" alt="Image" width="300" height="225" border="0" /></a></p> <p>It’s my last day on the west coast following two weeks of recording at the <a href="http://educator.com">Educator.com</a> studios in Los Angeles. I’ve completed filming of the AP Physics C: Mechanics and the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism courses, and roughly 18 months ago finished recording the AP Physics 1 and AP Physics 2 course sequences. At the conclusion of this massive effort, I thought it fitting to take a few minutes and summarize what I’ve learned from the experience.</p> <p>First, I’m amazed at the total amount of content involved in these projects when all was said and done. The AP Physics 1/2 course includes more than 930 slides, and the AP Physics C total is up over 950. Coupled with diagrams, formulas, and illustrations, these represent roughly a year’s worth of full-time effort, squeezed in to an already busy schedule with early morning work, weekends, and middle-of-the-night can’t sleep sessions.</p> <p>Second, I’ve recognized how challenging the content truly is for the AP-C course. I had some of the content prepared already from my APlusPhysics videos, yet it still took me more than 5 months to create the more-detailed Educator.com lessons. I designed each lesson in detail, and even made notes on what I would discuss, derive, and explain on each individual slide. When I reached the studios in LA, however, I still had tons of preparation work to do. Each day I rehearsed every lesson three times before filming. I’d go over the lessons in detail (including solving all problems and writing out all derivations in my notebook) over an extended dinner each night in the hotel, then go back to my hotel room and do it all again while listening to a baseball game before bed. Early the following morning, I’d get up around 5 am and go through it once more before our 9- or 10-am filming session would begin. Once filming for the day was complete, I’d do it all again in preparation for the next set of lessons. I wonder if I didn’t do more physics homework in my two weeks of filming in LA than my students do in an entire year.</p> <p>I found as I went through this that every time I solved a free response problem or walked through a derivation, I found slightly different methods of solving the problem. Some were smoother than others; some were longer than others. Even though my final passes were usually “cleaner” than my initial solutions, I tried to stick with my initial solutions in the videos to better mirror the approach students might take.</p> <p>Even with all that preparation, the recording sessions were still quite stressful. In walking through the lessons, there were technical components to the presentation that were fairly unforgiving. Hit the wrong button in the wrong order and you’d have to start all over again. Switch colors and then switch slides before writing and you’d have to do it all over again. Cough, sneeze, or forget where you are in a lecture or stump yourself — you got it, do it all again. Thankfully, I’d had quite a bit of experience in this sort of thing from my previous trip out to LA to record the AP-1/2 series, so the amount of “re-do” work was kept to a minimum due to all that preparation. But recording four hours of video lessons sure felt like a 12+ hour day.</p> <p>In addition, I still found the AP-C material challenging. In my classroom, I prepare with 42-minute lessons, and the longest I ever lecture in a row is one entire 42-minute period (and I try to avoid that like the plague). Here, the lessons are straight lecture, with no breaks, no edits, no room for error. That leaves a lot of material to have down cold while also dealing with technical concerns. My detailed noted were invaluable, and I referred to them throughout my lectures to make sure I covered all the salient points in each slide, as well as having calculations pre-solved, as opposed to making viewers wait while I punched numbed into my calculator. With my preparation, my time between lessons was approximately 10 minutes or so to get a quick drink, review the slides for the next lesson for any last-minute issues, and allow the technical folks to prepare the studio for the next round. Others in the studio, however, would take extended time between recording lessons in order to prepare. They had the luxury as they were fairly local to the studios, and could spread their recording work out over months.</p> <p>Working through these courses from start to finish in such a detailed manner in such a compressed time span provides a unique perspective on the course. Each lesson is designed to present a concept as simply as possible, illustrate that concept, and then demonstrate its application in a variety of scenarios. In creating these courses I solved every released AP-C free response problem going back to 1998, as well as a scattering of earlier problems. With the entire breadth of the course fresh in my mind, I’m confident the foundational principles emphasized in the course provide excellent preparation for students taking the AP Physics C exams. </p> <p>One of my goals in creating these courses was to provide a more streamlined video series than their previous video series. Their previous courses totaled 48 hours for mechanics, and 41 hours for electricity and magnetism. My goal was to cut each of those at least in half, allowing students to minimize their time watching videos, and instead maximize their time actively working with the material. I haven’t seen the final count for the new courses, but I’m confident we’ll be close, if not under, our target.</p> <p><img style="float: right;" title="uncle_bob_has_a_toupee_hg_clr_st.gif" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/uncle_bob_has_a_toupee_hg_clr_st.gif" alt="Uncle bob has a toupee hg clr st" width="200" height="350" border="0" /></p> <p>I’m also excited that the College Board will be allowing students the use of formula sheets and calculators throughout the entire exam next year. Even after studying and preparing all day every day for weeks, I still referenced my formula sheets and notes in solving problems and preparing. Memorizing formulas does not constitute learning or understanding, and removing the requirement to have all these formulas memorized will allow students to better focus on what is important.</p> <p>Finally, I knew being gone from my family for two weeks would be difficult. I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old daughter at home, and they are already growing up way too fast. I treasure my time with them, especially our time in the summer when Daddy-Daughter Day Care includes swimming, playing around out back in the sandbox and water table, riding bikes, playground time, and so on. But it’s been even tougher than I expected. I’m so thankful for modern technology which allows me to see them and talk to them each day, but when your little girls says all she wants is you to curl up in bed with her after story time at night, it tugs on your heart strings something fierce.</p> <p>I’m proud of what we’ve put together here at Educator.com through these efforts, and hopeful that students across the world will find these videos helpful in their studies. I’m also excited to know that I will be able to use these resources with my students in the coming years. I’m relieved to have finished this project, eager to refocus my efforts on other projects such as revisions to <a href="http://aplusphysics.com/ap1">AP Physics 1 Essentials</a> and completing <a href="http://aplusphysics.com/ap2">AP Physics 2 Essentials</a>, but most importantly, I can’t wait to get home and hug my girls.</p> <!-- Start Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><!-- End Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/RW9AunwM-oY" height="1" width="1"/> <a href="http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~3/RW9AunwM-oY/" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

AP Physics 1 Essentials — What it Is, What it Isn’t

<p>Yesterday I received a review on Amazon for the AP1 book that was, at best, scathing. Please allow me a moment to first state that the reviewer is correct in his statement that the book doesn’t contain many of the high level, conceptual, reading-intensive questions that are found on the AP1 practice exams. I agree, as that is not the book’s intent. We have college level texts all over the place that do a MUCH better job as a primary source and going into detail. They are much bigger, are much more expensive, and are backed by much larger companies. I think the reviewer, however, missed the point of the book.</p> <p>The AP1 Physics Essentials book is designed to be a guide book that students will actually read, starting from basic principles and building fundamental concepts with simple examples (many from past NY Regents Physics Exams) and then building upon those examples to intermediate level problems, which are demonstrated in detail. The goal is to allow students to build these “essentials” so that they can get a better foundation in concepts and basic applications independently (as, of course, reading is primarily an independent activity).</p> <p>The AP-1 style exam problems, however, are considerably different. They focus on considerably more complex problems, are challenging to read and interpret what is being asked, tie multiple concepts together in unique and novel applications… a style of learning that is extremely difficult to accomplish independently and passively. Research has shown again and again that this type of understanding requires active learning activities, inquiry-based labs, guided analysis, discussion, and group problem solving. All of which are impossible to accomplish within a book, which is why the AP1 book doesn’t even try. It is meant as a supplement to assist with building the foundational skills so students are better prepared for the active learning experiences which will build those skills so necessary for success in the course.</p> <p>In truth, the AP-1 book is the book I would want to use with my students. It is the book that I could send them home with to read a few pages, coupled with the video mini-lessons, so that we can use our valuable class time more productively in those active-learning experiences. It is not meant to be a textbook replacement, or a 320-page miracle for those taking the AP-1 exam without external preparation.</p> <p>I also believe that having an AP-1 style problem set would be valuable to teachers and students, as very few AP-1 style problems have been released for use in classrooms (likely because the sample exam was JUST released to instructors). Over the summer I’ll be working with other physics instructors to build up a set of public domain AP-1 style problems which we will make available to instructors and students. I can also foresee incorporating these into a future edition of the AP-1 book (perhaps as end-of-chapter problems) to provide further resources to students and instructors as we learn more about the actual AP-1 course.</p> <p>To summarize, though, I hate to see customers disappointed in APlusPhysics products, especially when the customer misses the intent of the product. I’m hoping this post clarifies the intent of the book, and I have also updated the book descriptions on Amazon and the iBooks store to call this out even more clearly and (hopefully) alleviate such potential disappointment in customers in the future.</p> <!-- Start Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><!-- End Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/AnYv4TEnN2w" height="1" width="1"/> <a href="http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~3/AnYv4TEnN2w/" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

AP Physics 1 Outline

<p style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial; font-size: 13px; line-height: 17px;"> I’ve received quite a few requests over the past couple months, and especially the past couple days, asking if I knew of an “outline version” of the AP Physics 1 learning objectives, essential knowledge, etc., organized by topic. I already had this created from working on the <a href="http://aplusphysics.com/ap1">AP Physics 1 Essentials</a> book as a chapter outline/roadmap correlated to the new <a href="http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/courses/teachers_corner/2262.html">AP 1 course</a>, but had never bothered to put it in a user-friendly format to share. Well, until yesterday.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial; font-size: 13px; line-height: 17px;"> Here it is: <a href="http://aplusphysics.com/educators/AP1Outline.html/">http://aplusphysics.com/educators/AP1Outline.html/</a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial; font-size: 13px; line-height: 17px;"> I understand this may not be the order in which you’d teach the topics, but for me at least, this organization is much easier to wade through and make sense of than the current <a href="http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/ap/ap-course-exam-descriptions/ap-physics-1-and-ap-physics-2-course-and-exam-description.pdf">AP Physics 1 and 2 Framework</a> document (in which I get easily lost in the 200+ pages). Perhaps it will be of use to you as well. Please note that you can drill down by clicking on the triangles to the left of the topics, i<span style="color: #000000;">t’s quite a big document if you expand it all out.</span></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Arial; font-size: 13px; line-height: 17px;"> I’m planning on doing this for AP-2 as well, though I probably won’t have a chance to start on it until late July.</p> <!-- Start Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><!-- End Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/kHYnj6tUV94" height="1" width="1"/> <a href="http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~3/kHYnj6tUV94/" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Levitation with Sound

How do you levitate things with sound? Blog Explanation: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/01/how-do-you-levitate-things-with-sound/ Youtube Video:

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Utilizing Technology to Support Differentiated Learning #STANYS #flipclass #physicsed

<p>It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten a good reflection up here. I’ve been swamped finishing up the <a href="http://aplusphysics.com/ap1">AP Physics 1 Essentials</a> book, getting it converted to all the various formats (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, etc.), while simultaneously continuing work on the interactive iPad version. As these projects are slowly beginning to conclude, I’ve been working on a presentation for the STANYS 2013 (Science Teachers Association of New York State) conference here in Rochester, NY. My presentation is on Utilizing Technology to Support Differentiated Learning, where I take a quick look at three strategies all designed to promote independent learning in students while providing opportunity for those students to self-differentiate by skill level in specific areas as well as interest.</p> <p>Since one of the three strategies involved flipping the classroom (along with self instruction and blogging), it seemed only right that I make a “flipped class video” version of the presentation. I’m still massaging the presentation, but here’s the first take:</p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DqdNzb0JelA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p><iframe width="480" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/gqf-414P-is" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <!-- Start Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><!-- End Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/uoWE28hvCiM" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

AP Physics 1 Essentials Released #physics #physicsed #apb

<p>Finally, after several years of research, organizing, outlining, re-outlining, writing, re-writing, writing again, and so on, I’m thrilled to announce that <a href="http://aplusphysics.com/ap1">AP Physics 1 Essentials: An APlusPhysics Guide</a> has been released!</p> <p><img style="float: right;" title="3d-book.png" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/3d-book.png" alt="3d book" width="430" height="314" border="0" /></p> <p>AP1 Essentials is jam-packed with the knowledge and content required for success on the AP Physics 1 Exam. More than 500 problems and deeper understanding questions, examples, and explanations. Tons of illustrations and diagrams to make the book clearer and enjoyable to read. And, of course, it’s interconnected with the <a href="http://aplusphysics.com">APlusPhysics</a> website, with video mini-lessons, online tutorials, student blogs, discussion forums, homework help, a video repository, downloads, you name it. I believe this will be an extremely valuable resource for students undertaking their AP Physics 1 courses beginning in fall 2014 when the course officially begins.</p> <p>Having said all that, though, I want to make a few items clear up front, as critics love to hammer certain points. Number one, this book is a resource (as are the videos, web tutorials, etc). Just that, and nothing more. It’s not intended to replace strong classroom instruction, student exploration, hands-on activities and labs, deeper problem solving practice, critical thinking, and writing as thinking. It’s another tool in the toolbox. The giant change in the AP Physics course is a focus on building true student understanding rather than plug-and-chug problem solving, something that is VERY difficult to do in a short easy-to-read book. Those skills need interactive discussions, refinement, challenges, and that’s where our job as teachers come in. This book was never intended as a textbook for the course, nor as a teacher replacement for a “do-it-yourself-at-home” situation. It’s designed to complement the course, driving home <strong>essential</strong> concepts and knowledge. True mastery will require much more, however. Applications both tangible and on-paper. Further deep dives into what these concepts really mean and how they intertwine. In short, strong professional instruction.</p> <p>Second, this is a review/guide book. For reasons of clarity, the organization of topics and chapters may not be what a student would typically see in a classroom setting. Physics topics interconnect, and it’s very difficult (and perhaps downright incorrect) to teach any given topic in isolation. What is kinematics without dynamics? How do you have a chapter on work and energy when the entire course is about energy? And for reasons of clarity, the order of chapters and material in chapters is not always what I would recommend as the order a teacher take in the classroom. Interconnectedness and a re-entrant strategy through a course is highly prized and effective, but deadly confusing in a review book. So the book is organized in such a fashion that a linear progression through the books hits the major topics in an order that requires a minimum of backtracking, yet may not be the most effective path to take in the classroom or the first-time through the material. Again, this is designed as a review / guide book, another weapon in the arsenal to build understanding, not a stand-alone solution.</p> <p>Third, students and teachers all have differing styles. Many teachers are moving to the “modeling” curriculum, which is strongly supported by the new AP-1 course. Many teachers are moving to “flipped classroom” strategies. Others teach with inquiry and project-based learning. None of these is the “silver bullet” that fixes all problems, and all of these have benefits and drawbacks. I think it’s important for each instructor to develop their own style that works for them, while also recognizing that each student is different, and what works for one student may not work for another. I try hard not to promote or criticize any single style of instruction. There’s a time and place for all of them. Instead, I recommend finding what works for you, and then each and every day, consider how you can stretch beyond what is comfortable to try something else and see if it works for you. Teaching is a process, not just a profession. To that end, I incorporate facets of modeling in the book and my classroom, I utilize some flipped class strategies in my classroom, though I wouldn’t call my classroom a “flipped class.” I utilize inquiry, project-based learning, and tons of other strategies, as I see fit to best meet the needs of my students and my goals for that day/lesson/unit. I even use direct instruction (oh my, he said it, didn’t he!!!) at times, though it is by no means the backbone of my courses. And this book is designed as a complement to any/all of them, not an answer to any single one.</p> <p>I wrote this book as a book I would want my students to have access to. Of course, it would be supplemented with a number of other resources. First off, I still promote the use of a legitimate full-length textbook. You may not use it everyday, but I think it’s important students learn how to read and utilize a complex text. In every class I teach, regardless of level, we work toward the day where we take one entire unit and work through it as an independent unit, where students are required to make use of the text productively, investigate a number of lab activities independently, and test their own understanding. Secondly, the problems in this book are designed to provide essential concept understanding. I highly recommend the use of additional problems sets, especially freely-available questions from past AP exams, as well as more open-ended and design-type questions where students aren’t just solving for a numerical answer, but are writing explanations as they think through problems and apply those basic concepts to new situations. That is a major focus of the AP paradigm shift, and I believe is beyond the scope of any single text to promote in isolation, as building these skills is a highly interactive process.</p> <p>So, a long-winded explanation of what to expect, and my recommendations on how I would use it. Just the $.02 of a physics teacher who loves his job. I want to again thank the many contributors to this work, and all the folks who have supported and encouraged this work. It’s been by far the hardest writing project I’ve undertaken, and I think it delivers on all of the goals we initially set out with. I hope you enjoy it!</p> <!-- Start Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><!-- End Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/g9b9sVJI4bg" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

AP Physics 1 Essentials -- Coming Soon!

After many, many long hours and tons of great feedback from physics teachers across the globe, I'm thrilled to announce the AP Physics 1 Essentials, a guidebook / review book for the upcoming AP Physics 1 course, is due for release in late August. I began work on this project in the summer of 2010 when conversations at the AP Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., led to a number of different teachers talking about the need for a detailed course breakdown to support the change, followed by discussion of what the true cost of the change would be in terms of instructor hours, curriculum rewrites, resource revisions, etc. It was obvious there was going to be a need for a guidebook for the course, and my goal was to provide a short "everything you need to know" book that was easy-to-read, fun, engaging, and inexpensive so that students could pick this up as a guidebook/review book without having to purchase entirely new textbooks to support the changing course. I quickly picked up a following of fans eager to see the project succeed and more than willing to contribute what they could, from early draft versions of the Division of Content plans (which only vaguely resemble the final curriculum guides), to proposed and/or recommended formula sheets, to technical reviews, editing, "wish lists," etc. I've been amazed at the positive response and helpfulness of so many, that has allowed this project to progress through multiple obstacles, from revised content and organizational issues through technical hurdles such as a corrupt book file caught nearly 80% into the rough draft. I guess this qualifies as checking the "nothing worthwhile is easy" box on the project. I'm grateful to my family for allowing me the many hours early in the morning, late in the evening, and during the summer to work on this effort. As I write this, for example, I'm on vacation with my family. It's almost 6 am, I'm watching the Allegheny River flow past, and just saw a bald eagle fly up the river, not 30 feet from where I sit typing. I also must thank the many physics instructors across the globe who have contributed in so many ways, from editing to hints to encouragement... but I need to say a special thank you to the APlusPhysics community. The website began as a tool to use in my own classroom, and quickly grew so popular that I felt compelled to continue to expand it at the request of its users. With more than 30,000 students using it EACH MONTH, I've been absolutely floored by the number of thank-you messages, letters of encouragement, and success stories contributed voluntarily by community members. You guys set me on this path, made the site and the books successful, and it's your encouragement and support that have kept me at this project through the wee hours of the night and long hours of frustration. Moving on to the final product… I'm proud to say the book is finished. Sure, it has a few more edits to make, a few more tweaks here and there, but everything is on track for a late August 2013 release. My long-term goal was to have the book released one year before teachers began teaching the revised AP course, and it appears we'll hit that deadline on the nose (with special thanks to the AP for delaying the change a year from the date I was originally told back in the summer of 2010). I'm hoping you find it valuable to your courses and studies. This book was written as the guidebook I would want my students to have for the course. Not a full standard physics textbook, because my students don't learn and fully read their physics textbook (except in snippets), but rather a book designed to be used as written, read AND understood, with tons of example problems and solutions. Thank you so much for your tremendous support. I hope you enjoy AP Physics 1 Essentials as much as I enjoyed the opportunity to work with you and so many other amazing people on this project. Make it a great day!

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

AP Physics 1 Essentials – Coming Soon! #physicsed #physics #apphysics

<p>After many, many long hours and tons of great feedback from physics teachers across the globe, I’m thrilled to announce the AP Physics 1 Essentials, a guidebook / review book for the upcoming AP Physics 1 course, is due for release in late August. I began work on this project in the summer of 2010 when conversations at the AP Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., led to a number of different teachers talking about the need for a detailed course breakdown to support the change, followed by discussion of what the true cost of the change would be in terms of instructor hours, curriculum rewrites, resource revisions, etc. It was obvious there was going to be a need for a guidebook for the course, and my goal was to provide a short “everything you need to know” book that was easy-to-read, fun, engaging, and inexpensive so that students could pick this up as a guidebook/review book without having to purchase entirely new textbooks to support the changing course.</p> <p>I quickly picked up a following of fans eager to see the project succeed and more than willing to contribute what they could, from early draft versions of the Division of Content plans (which only vaguely resemble the final curriculum guides), to proposed and/or recommended formula sheets, to technical reviews, editing, “wish lists,” etc. I’ve been amazed at the positive response and helpfulness of so many, that has allowed this project to progress through multiple obstacles, from revised content and organizational issues through technical hurdles such as a corrupt book file caught nearly 80% into the rough draft. I guess this qualifies as checking the ”nothing worthwhile is easy” box on the project.</p> <p><img title="AP1Cover.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/AP1Cover.jpg" alt="AP1Cover" width="550" height="452" border="0" /></p> <p>I’m grateful to my family for allowing me the many hours early in the morning, late in the evening, and during the summer to work on this effort. As I write this, for example, I’m on vacation with my family. It’s almost 6 am, I’m watching the Allegheny River flow past, and just saw a bald eagle fly up the river, not 30 feet from where I sit typing. I also must thank the many physics instructors across the globe who have contributed in so many ways, from editing to hints to encouragement… but I need to say a special thank you to the APlusPhysics community. The website began as a tool to use in my own classroom, and quickly grew so popular that I felt compelled to continue to expand it at the request of its users. With more than 30,000 students using it EACH MONTH, I’ve been absolutely floored by the number of thank-you messages, letters of encouragement, and success stories contributed voluntarily by community members. You guys set me on this path, made the site and the books successful, and it’s your encouragement and support that have kept me at this project through the wee hours of the night and long hours of frustration.</p> <p>Moving on to the final product… I’m proud to say the book is finished. Sure, it has a few more edits to make, a few more tweaks here and there, but everything is on track for a late August 2013 release. My long-term goal was to have the book released one year before teachers began teaching the revised AP course, and it appears we’ll hit that deadline on the nose (with special thanks to the AP for delaying the change a year from the date I was originally told back in the summer of 2010). I’m hoping you find it valuable to your courses and studies. This book was written as the guidebook I would want my students to have for the course. Not a full standard physics textbook, because my students don’t learn and fully read their physics textbook (except in snippets), but rather a book designed to be used as written, read AND understood, with tons of example problems and solutions.</p> <p>Thank you so much for your tremendous support. I hope you enjoy AP Physics 1 Essentials as much as I enjoyed the opportunity to work with you and so many other amazing people on this project.</p> <p>Make it a great day!</p> <!-- Start Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><!-- End Shareaholic Recommendations Automatic --><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/DnWJQ6JEW_o" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Creating Screencasts – 2013 Update #edtech #flipclass

<p>Hi Folks,</p> <p> At least once or twice a week I receive an e-mail asking how I make my screencasts, and given these posts are a couple years old, and I’ve adjusted my methodology a bit in the past few years, it seems high time I provided an update on my recommendations for screencasting. So, here goes.</p> <p><a href="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Screen-Shot-2013-05-29-at-8.20.40-AM.png"><img src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Screen-Shot-2013-05-29-at-8.20.40-AM-300x166.png" alt="Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 8.20.40 AM" width="300" height="166" class="alignright size-medium wp-image-613" /></a></p> <p> For those using Windows PCs, not much has changed terribly. I still highly recommend <a href="http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html" target="_blank">Camtasia:Studio</a> as one of the most cost-effective and easy-to-use software packages for screencasting (make sure you choose Education pricing for a 40% discount). It allows you to record what’s occurring on your screen, as well as your face (via webcam), and puts it all together with a variety of output options. It is my go-to tool when using a Windows system. Typically I create my presentation in Powerpoint, then load up Camtasia to record my walk-through of the presentation, and do a majority of post-processing in Camtasia. Finally, I upload to <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/FizziksGuy" target="_blank">Youtube</a> and also to the APlusPhysics.com site (many schools block Youtube, so having the videos in a separate place helps teachers provide access to all their students, regardless of location or device). A good example of a video created in this manner is the <a href="http://www.aplusphysics.com/courses/regents/videos/KinEqns_Reg/KinEqns_Reg.html" target="_blank">Kinematics Equations Regents Physics Tutorial</a>.</p> <p> About 18 months ago, however, I switched from the Windows platform to the PC platform. The “why” of the change is a long story, and probably not of interest to most readers here, but the transition was much smoother than I expected, and although I realize you pay a premium on the hardware end, I’m much happier with the transition than I initially anticipated. Initially I tried quite a few different methods championed by other teachers using Macs, but everything I tried was either flaky, too complex, or required too much “work” during the presentation — and when I’m creating the screencasts, I want to focus as much of my attention as I can on teaching the material as effectively as I can, with as little focus as possible on technical aspects of screencasting. For those who have been making screencasts, you realize how challenging it is to try to take a lesson, concept, or problem-solving approach and condense it down into just what the students need to know to get started. My goal in my videos isn’t to replace the classroom or teacher, but rather take the repetitive basic content and condense it down into something the kids can do at home, leaving us more time in class for hands-on activities, exploration, extension, and challenge work.</p> <p> Without digressing TOO much further, I soon decided I had to come up with my own method. After a bit of trial and error and the purchase of several software packages that just didn’t work out for me, here’s the method I came up with (and am quite happy with). First, I create my presentation materials in either Powerpoint or Keynote (I prefer Keynote on the Mac to Powerpoint on the Mac just for level of integration, but they’re pretty much equivalent). Once my presentation slides are complete, I export them in PDF form. Then, I import the PDF presentation into a wonderful Mac software package known as <a href="http://www.zengobi.com/products/curio/" target="_blank">Curio</a> (HIGHLY recommended and comes with amazing developer support), “Spread” the PDFs out onto various pages, and I use <a href="http://www.zengobi.com/products/curio/" target="_blank">Curio</a> as my background software when I run my screen capture.</p> <p><a href="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Screen-Shot-2013-05-29-at-8.50.34-AM.png"><img src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Screen-Shot-2013-05-29-at-8.50.34-AM-300x170.png" alt="Screen Shot 2013-05-29 at 8.50.34 AM" width="300" height="170" class="alignright size-medium wp-image-616" /></a></p> <p> For the actual screen capture work, I went back to Techsmith’s <a href="http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html" target="_blank">Camtasia:Mac</a>. It doesn’t have quite as many features as the Windows version, and post-processing is considerably less intuitive if you want to zoom, scroll, etc., but for the basics it’s pretty slick, and it also has one more GREAT feature that I love — the ability to remove a color from your recorded webcam video. This means you can do some basic “green screen” or “chromakey” work right in <a href="http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html" target="_blank">Camtasia:Mac</a>. I’m not thrilled with the level of control of this feature, as there’s definitely some room for improvement, but it’s a great start and its easy integration right into the regular workflow makes it quick and easy to implement. The <a href="http://www.aplusphysics.com/courses/ap-c/videos/APC-Gauss/APC-Gauss.html" target="_blank">AP Physics C: Gauss’s Law video</a> demonstrates a screencast created with this workflow. As an added bonus, <a href="http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.html" target="_blank">Camtasia for Mac</a> is also considerably cheaper than the Windows version, currently about $75 for an academic license.</p> <p> Which leads us into the tricky part, the hardware. The most important part of your setup, from my perspective, is your writing input device. On the Windows side, for years I’ve used a Tablet PC (not an iPad or similar device, but rather a laptop computer that has a screen you can write on). These tend to be rather pricey (prices typically start around $2K for a decent system), and I haven’t had the greatest luck with them as far as reliability goes, despite attempts at buying high-end systems. What I consider a better alternative is the purchase of a separate input device, so that you can always upgrade / swap out the computer itself as needed, but continue using the input device from system to system.</p> <p> Initially I started working with a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Intuos4-Wireless-Pen-Tablet/dp/B0035ERQ6O/ref=sr_1_6?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369834340&sr=1-6&keywords=Wacom+Intuos+Tablet+Wireless" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Wacom Intuos tablet</a>. It does what it’s supposed to, but I had a heck of a time looking at a separate screen while drawing on a separate input device. My handwriting was awful (even more awful than when I write directly on the screen), and I found myself stressing about the technicalities of the screencast as I worked. It just wasn’t comfortable at all. So, the barely-used system is sitting under my desk waiting for me to either put it up on eBay, loan it to another APlusPhysics contributor, or sell it for pennies on the dollar.</p> <p> Shortly thereafter, I decided to take the plunge and purchased a Wacom Interactive Pen Display, model <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-DTU-1631-Interactive-Pen-Display/dp/B003RHX03M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369832737&sr=8-1&keywords=dtu-1631" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">DTU-1631</a>. I use this in my classroom each day as well, projecting the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-DTU-1631-Interactive-Pen-Display/dp/B003RHX03M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369832737&sr=8-1&keywords=dtu-1631" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">DTU-1631</a> screen on a digital projector, and writing my notes directly on the screen. This has the extra advantage of allowing me to capture all my class notes and publish them directly to our Regents Physics and AP Physics C blogs. It’s not the greatest monitor as far as overall image quality, and it’s certainly priced above where I think it should be (~$1000), but it works, and has become my everyday workhorse in the classroom. I’m pleased to see Wacom is coming out with some considerably upgraded interactive pen displays this summer, which may provide some further options.</p> <p> I also invested in a system for home use this past fall, saving me the hassle of lugging the DTU-1631 back and forth from school to the home office regularly. Without the need to project the monitor, I decided on the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-CINTIQ-22HD-Pen-Display/dp/B008HB5K5O/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369832961&sr=1-1&keywords=Cintiq+22hd" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Wacom Cintiq 22HD</a> system. Again, the monitor image characteristics leave a bit to be desired in a high resolution monitor, but the ability to write directly on the screen at high resolution takes all the technical hassle out of creating screencasts. It’s not for the dabbler, however, as discount price is typically right around $2000.</p> <p><div id="attachment_620" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 140px"><a href="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/BlueYeti.jpg"><img src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/BlueYeti-130x300.jpg" alt="Blue Yeti USB Microphone" width="130" height="300" class="size-medium wp-image-620" /></a><p class="wp-caption-text">Blue Yeti USB Microphone</p></div></p> <p> As far as audio and microphones go, I continue to use a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Zoom-H2-Portable-Stereo-Recorder/dp/B000VBH2IG/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369833015&sr=1-1&keywords=Zoom+H2" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Zoom H2 Digital Recorder</a> at home, which does a nice job of capturing audio cleanly at a price point around $180 with a bit of searching, but a year or so ago I purchased a separate <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Microphones-Yeti-USB-Microphone/dp/B002VA464S/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369833190&sr=1-2&keywords=Blue+Yeti" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Blue Yeti USB Microphone</a> and I absolutely love it. It’s easy to use, has a tremendous cardiod mode, and provides awesome sound in a cheap, reliable manner. At a price point of roughly $100, I don’t think you can beat it, and it wouldn’t take much for me to trade in my more expensive <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Zoom-H2-Portable-Stereo-Recorder/dp/B000VBH2IG/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369833015&sr=1-1&keywords=Zoom+H2" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Zoom H2</a> for a second <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Microphones-Yeti-USB-Microphone/dp/B002VA464S/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369833190&sr=1-2&keywords=Blue+Yeti" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Blue Yeti</a> for the home office.</p> <p> As far as webcams to capture the instructor’s face, just about any Logitech-type USB webcam will do. I’ve used a number of different webcams, most recently a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Portable-Webcam-Autofocus-960-000733/dp/B004YW7WCY/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369833374&sr=1-1&keywords=Logitech+C615" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Logitech HD Webcam C615</a> (due to its Mac compatibility). They do a decent job. For the higher-end videos using the chromakey (green screen) technology, I wanted something a little better, and found an outdated <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Canon-ZR850-MiniDV-Camcorder-Optical/dp/B000M4JDQQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1369833546&sr=1-1&keywords=Canon+ZR850" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Canon ZR850</a> sitting in our closet. This mini-DV camcorder didn’t see much use in our house due to the advent of all the flip cam technologies, iPhones, etc., but I found that by connecting to my Mac through its firewire connections, I could get high quality, stable images fed directly into the computer and compatible with Camtasia. Certainly not a necessity, but a nice little extra.</p> <p> Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I do just a touch of post-processing on my videos outside of Camtasia. Although Camtasia has noise reduction algorithms built in, I had already purchased a license for the full <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Adobe-Collection-Student-Teacher-Edition/dp/B007S03070/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1369834182&sr=8-1&keywords=Adobe+CS6+Teacher+Master" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Adobe Creative Suite (Master Edition)</a> to build the <a href="http://aplusphysics.com" target="_blank">APlusPhysics</a> website, so thought I might as well use as many features of the software as I can. I use <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Adobe-65159072-Audition-CS6/dp/B007PMNVWA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1369834380&sr=8-2&keywords=Adobe+Audition" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Adobe Audition</a> to tweak the audio input from my microphones just a touch before final processing. This allows me to easily standardize volume levels, pull out 60Hz hum from the electrical system, and even remove a bit of the HVAC noise from my recordings. Certainly not necessary for a good screencast, but a little extra since I already had the software on my system.</p> <p> There are certainly cheaper ways to do screen casting, and many great free to nearly-free alternatives. I’ve chosen this route with the goal of spending my time and resources up front to create high quality videos that I can use for years and years, tweaking and re-doing individual videos on a piecemeal basis to continually improve the quality of the video collection, as opposed to redoing the course year after year. There are certainly other strategies and workflows, but I’m hoping this may provide at least a start to others who are interested in screencasting without having to travel down all the mistaken paths I had to in developing this methodology. Make it a great day everyone!</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/wOxY6Xaw0PI" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Free 20GB Storage -- Great for Going off to School

Hi Gang, 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.

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Kerbal Docking Mission

<p>Now, this took some research, some planning, and a number of tries, but matching up orbits for docking IS possible…</p> <p><img title="docking1.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/docking11.jpg" alt="Docking1" width="600" height="456" border="0" /></p> <p>But certainly not easy. Took a bit of practice (and perhaps a minor bounce off the station…)</p> <p><img title="docking2.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/docking2.jpg" alt="Docking2" width="600" height="340" border="0" /></p> <p>But in the end, the Kerbals prevailed.</p> <p><img title="docked1.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/docked1.jpg" alt="Docked1" width="600" height="293" border="0" /></p> <p>Once docked, a fuel transfer was initiated to verify the process. After that, it was party time. The Kerbal who’d been manning the space station decided he needed to get out after going a bit stir crazy. Time to ride the rocket for a spell.</p> <p><img title="dockedrider.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/dockedrider.jpg" alt="Dockedrider" width="600" height="338" border="0" /></p> <p>This, of course, left the space station unmanned, so one of our newly arrived Kerbonauts transferred himself over to the space station to take the helm.</p> <p><img title="crewtransfer.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/crewtransfer.jpg" alt="Crewtransfer" width="600" height="379" border="0" /></p> <p>So, it’s doable. Who’s next?</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/zWn13xgl9-M" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Kerbal Moon Landing Mission (Practice / System Try-Out) #kerbal #KSP

<p>I’ve been playing around with the Kerbal Space Program recently because (1) it’s fun and (2) I want to know enough to be able to help my kids during their post-AP project, at least from a technical / computer perspective. My mission — have a Kerbal walk on the moon (and return home safely).</p> <p>The first step was designing the vehicle. I went with a one-man capsule, a small engine, and lots of extra fuel (to give me plenty of room for mistakes on my first landing mission.</p> <p><img title="screenshot11.png" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot111.png" alt="Screenshot11" width="600" height="337" border="0" /></p> <p>I made sure to add landing struts, a ladder to allow Jebediah a quick EVA, and, of course, a parachute for the command pod. The launch vehicle itself was designed in two stages, four large engines and fuel tanks to get the craft past 10 km, and another single large tank and engine to easily push into orbit, leaving the lander vehicle itself fully fueled in orbit.</p> <p><img title="screenshot12.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot12.jpg" alt="Screenshot12" width="317" height="600" border="0" /></p> <p>The launch was very straightforward. I controlled the engines carefully under 10 km to keep the velocity below 200 m/s and avoid overheating. At 12 km I performed an orbital tilt to 45 degrees, got speed up, and then coasted to the highest point in the path, at which point I turned again on an orbital maneuver.</p> <p><img title="screenshot14.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot14.jpg" alt="Screenshot14" width="600" height="495" border="0" /></p> <p><img title="screenshot15.png" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot15.png" alt="Screenshot15" width="600" height="337" border="0" /></p> <p>Separation was clean.</p> <p><img title="screenshot17.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot17.jpg" alt="Screenshot17" width="600" height="288" border="0" /></p> <p>This left me with the landing craft fully fueled in a stable Earth orbit, ready to begin maneuvers to head to the Mun.</p> <p><img title="screenshot18.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot18.jpg" alt="Screenshot18" width="600" height="371" border="0" /></p> <p>As I approached the moon I adjusted my orbit to bring me down near “the bright side,” and set my orientation to maintain a retrograde orbit.</p> <p> </p> <p><img title="screenshot5.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot5.jpg" alt="Screenshot5" width="600" height="411" border="0" /></p> <p>After a few minutes of sweating with a light hand on the thrusters while maintain a retrograde orbit, I finally had the lander down on the ground (and even remembered to extend the landing struts!)</p> <p> </p> <p><img title="screenshot7.gif" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot7.gif" alt="Screenshot7" width="323" height="377" border="0" /></p> <p>The external tanks were just barely empty (I hadn’t separated them during the descent as I thought perhaps the extra fuel might be nice for the Mun launch. However, upon reaching the surface, they were just barely drained. Easy quiet separation. Now for the EVA. I extended the ladders and Jebediah had himself a short stroll on the Mun before climbing back in for the trip home.<img title="screenshot8.gif" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot8.gif" alt="Screenshot8" width="481" height="423" border="0" /></p> <p> </p> <p>From there, a simple launch to get back into Mun orbit, then an orbital transfer back to Earth, which brought Jebediah down nice and safe and ready for his next mission!</p> <p>Key Learning — having all that extra fuel was nice, but next time I could do things MUCH more efficiently at the landing stage, allowing me to launch a much lighter landing vehicle. Next challenge – Landing on Minmus and returning safely!</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/o920EKmKED0" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Kerbals Recruiting for STEM! #physicsed #physics #STEM #edtech

<p>A couple weeks ago I had this crazy idea for a four-week project to do with my AP-C students after their AP exams. Typically we embark on a number of individualized, small-team projects, coupled with a study of semiconductor physics. This year, however, I wanted to change it up. I want to build excitement for the sciences and engineering. I want to try and truly capture the kids’ interest. So, taking a lead from a physics teacher tweet, I began exploring the Kerbal Space Program.</p> <p><iframe width="350" height="197" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RkDOOsGg-9I" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <p>I first wrote about some basic ideas around the program last week in <a href="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/aplusphysics/kerbals-in-space-gamifying-the-physics-of-space-exploration-physics-physicsed-ksp/">Kerbals in Space? Gamifying the Physics of Space Exploration</a>. Since then, with the help and guidance of a variety of folks ranging from our school’s IT experts all the way to Kerbal Space Program enthusiasts from around the world, I think we have a pilot program (pun intended) ready to launch (pun still intended). As we blast into this new foray, my larger goal is to explore whether something as simple as the Kerbal Space Program or other “gamified” simulation has the potential for implementation earlier in the K-12 curriculum. If it works with seniors, could it be used with juniors? With freshman? With junior high students? With 5th and 6th graders? All with the ultimate goal of launching students into the challenge and excitement available in STEM disciplines.</p> <p>We need to grab the attention of our up and coming society at an early age, and allow them to observe the need for math, science, writing, communication, and technology, and how these skills open doorways for them to engage in such fun and challenging activities. There are tons of good programs out there promoting interest in STEM, from robotics programs to alternative fuel teams to green teams… I’m hoping the excitement of space, presented in such a fun way, allows students to reach some key conclusions on their own. First, just playing the sim is fun. For a while. Then you realize no matter what you do you tend to crash into things and can’t make it to any moons or planets. It’s time to pull out paper, pencil, calculator, and jump on the Kerbal WIKI to do some research and learn about dynamics, energy, transfer orbits, staging, etc. In this way, the students themselves are driving their own learning with a purpose, a pull system, so to speak, as opposed to pushing information out to them and then asking them to apply what they’ve learned.</p> <p>It’ll be a fun experiment. I’ve completed the<a href="http://www.aplusphysics.com/projects/kerbal.html"> Kerbal Space Program Education Project definition page</a>. We’ll see how it goes from here, and if anyone wants to join us on this exploration, we’d love to have you along!</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/qrDRqz4Oaag" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

The Ultimate Regents Physics Question and Answer Book

So last year I took every single question from the last 17 NY Regents Physics exams, organized them by topic, and printed them neatly into worksheet / workbook formats for myself and others to use. They've been pretty popular, but have also been a fairly high maintenance item, as I have been receiving at least 10-15 e-mails per week about the worksheets. Some requests have come from teachers asking if I have created an answer sheet to go with them. Other requests have been from students looking to check their answers. Some have even been from students posing as instructors attempting to find the answers to the worksheets. But far and away, the most popular question has centered around whether I might offer a print version of the worksheets. It's taken awhile, but I've finally cleaned up all the sheets, arranged them into a workbook format, solved every single problem, added answer sheets, and sent them off for publication. The result -- yesterday, The Ultimate Regents Physics Question and Answer Book was released. I'm planning on leaving the individual worksheets available for download on the APlusPhysics site -- the book is merely provided as a convenience for those who'd rather have a hard copy, bound compendium of all the worksheets, with the answers included. Because these sheets are also popular as homework assignments, quizzes, etc., I don't plan on posting the answer sheets publicly… that's just making things a little too easy for students hoping to avoid productive work. The list price on the book is $11.99, which (typically) Amazon discounts within a few weeks of publication. I think that's a reasonable price for a resource that took me many, many hours to compile, with the goal of hopefully recouping the costs required to publish the book within a year or so if all goes well. Having said that, last night I received a troubling e-mail. Before even one copy had sold, I received a request asking if I would donate copies of the workbook to cover an entire physics course at a school. Now, I understand there's no harm in asking, so I politely responded that the cost for any donated/promotional copies come directly out of the pocket of a high school teacher (me), and that the entire content was already available for download and printing direct from the APlusPhysics website. The follow-up, however, left me troubled. The response stated that the copies were for an inner city school and therefore computers and Internet access to download and print the files wasn't reasonable. Maybe I'm being naive, but I have trouble believing that there are school districts (and individual schools) that are SO poor that there isn't a single computer with an Internet connection anywhere in the school. Or let's say that there aren't ANY computers in the school -- how can not one teacher have access to a computer and Internet to obtain the files on their own time? And in what world is it reasonable that I should pick up the costs to print and ship a volume of copies to a school where they can't find a way to download and print freely available files (which I also pay to host)? Rant ended. I'm more than happy to give away a ton of my work (and time) for free, but there are some costs associated with making these resources available. The software to create the site, the hosting fees, publication costs, licensing costs, etc. Almost all of the content in the books is already freely available on the site for educational use, and I LOVE when folks make use of these resources. But, the reality is that all of these things have some cost, and if I want to continue to build a terrific physics resource for our students, a few of the items on the site have to generate enough income to cover the costs of the site. Now, with that out of the way, I'm excited to be diving into the next project at full speed -- review / guide books for the new AP-1 and AP-2 courses. Background work / development has been going on for over a year, and, if all goes as planned, the first draft should be underway within a couple weeks!!!!!

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

New Release: The Ultimate Regents Physics Question and Answer Book

<p>So last year I took every single question from the last 17 NY Regents Physics exams, organized them by topic, and printed them neatly into worksheet / workbook formats for myself and others to use. They’ve been pretty popular, but have also been a fairly high maintenance item, as I have been receiving at least 10-15 e-mails per week about the worksheets. Some requests have come from teachers asking if I have created an answer sheet to go with them. Other requests have been from students looking to check their answers. Some have even been from students posing as instructors attempting to find the answers to the worksheets. But far and away, the most popular question has centered around whether I might offer a print version of the worksheets.</p> <p><a href="http://aplusphysics.com/regents/wb"><img style="float: right;" title="RegentsQA-500-TranspBkgd.jpg" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/RegentsQA-500-TranspBkgd.jpg" alt="RegentsQA 500 TranspBkgd" width="300" height="203" border="0" /></a></p> <p>It’s taken awhile, but I’ve finally cleaned up all the sheets, arranged them into a workbook format, solved every single problem, added answer sheets, and sent them off for publication. The result — yesterday, <a href="http://aplusphysics.com/regents/wb">The Ultimate Regents Physics Question and Answer Book</a> was released.</p> <p>I’m planning on leaving the individual worksheets available for download on the APlusPhysics site — the book is merely provided as a convenience for those who’d rather have a hard copy, bound compendium of all the worksheets, with the answers included. Because these sheets are also popular as homework assignments, quizzes, etc., I don’t plan on posting the answer sheets publicly… that’s just making things a little too easy for students hoping to avoid productive work. The list price on the book is $11.99, which (typically) Amazon discounts within a few weeks of publication. I think that’s a reasonable price for a resource that took me many, many hours to compile, with the goal of hopefully recouping the costs required to publish the book within a year or so if all goes well.</p> <p>Having said that, last night I received a troubling e-mail. Before even one copy had sold, I received a request asking if I would donate copies of the workbook to cover an entire physics course at a school. Now, I understand there’s no harm in asking, so I politely responded that the cost for any donated/promotional copies come directly out of the pocket of a high school teacher (me), and that the entire content was already available for download and printing direct from the APlusPhysics website. The follow-up, however, left me troubled. The response stated that the copies were for an inner city school and therefore computers and Internet access to download and print the files wasn’t reasonable.</p> <p>Maybe I’m being naive, but I have trouble believing that there are school districts (and individual schools) that are SO poor that there isn’t a single computer with an Internet connection anywhere in the school. Or let’s say that there aren’t ANY computers in the school — how can not one teacher have access to a computer and Internet to obtain the files on their own time? And in what world is it reasonable that I should pick up the costs to print and ship a volume of copies to a school where they can’t find a way to download and print freely available files (which I also pay to host)?</p> <p>Rant ended. I’m more than happy to give away a ton of my work (and time) for free, but there are some costs associated with making these resources available. The software to create the site, the hosting fees, publication costs, licensing costs, etc. Almost all of the content in the books is already freely available on the site for educational use, and I LOVE when folks make use of these resources. But, the reality is that all of these things have some cost, and if I want to continue to build a terrific physics resource for our students, a few of the items on the site have to generate enough income to cover the costs of the site.</p> <p>Now, with that out of the way, I’m excited to be diving into the next project at full speed — review / guide books for the new AP-1 and AP-2 courses. Background work / development has been going on for over a year, and, if all goes as planned, the first draft should be underway within a couple weeks!!!!!</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/ttfO5au910Q" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Kerbals in Space? Gamifying the Physics of Space Exploration #physics #physicsed #KSP

<p>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!</p> <p><img style="float: left;" title="screenshot0.png" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot0.png" alt="Screenshot0" width="300" height="168" border="0" /></p> <p>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!</p> <ul> <li>I’m thinking their challenges may look something like:</li> <li>Launch an unmanned rocket</li> <li>Launch a manned rocket safety</li> <li>Safely put a Kerbal in orbit (and bring him home)</li> <li>Safely land a Kerbal on the Mun (and bring him home)</li> <li>Safely land a Kerbal on a distant planet (and bring him home)</li> <li>etc.<img style="float: right;" title="screenshot2.png" src="http://aplusphysics.com/flux/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/screenshot2.png" alt="Screenshot2" width="300" height="168" border="0" /></li> </ul> <p>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!</p> <img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/PhysicsInFlux/~4/9oHkx50l8qE" height="1" width="1"/> Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Kerbals in Space? Gamifying the Physics of Space Exploration

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)
etc.
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!

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

APlusPhysics Undergoes Huge Upgrade

Hi Everyone, As you may have noticed, progress on the AP-1 / AP-2 videos has stalled over the past few weeks… let’s just sum it up by saying that if it could have gone wrong, it did. First we had a database “miscue” with our previous web server host, in which we lost the better part of 9 months of posts from this blog. grrrrr. Then a stomach bug went through our house. And as I had all sorts of time to grumble over the increasingly poor response times of our site and the loss of the data (despite regular backups), I finally made the decision to switch hosts and get us our own virtual private server. What does all that mean, you may ask? First off, instead of sharing a bunch of computing resource power with hundreds of other websites, we’ve purchased a set amount of storage space, RAM, and CPU cores on a server that only services a couple web sites. Lots more resources devoted to our site means much more stable performance, and considerably improved loading speeds. It also adds a bit of complexity on my side, as well as a considerable increase in annual costs. I’m thinking about potential ways to offset that in the future, but in the meantime, I’m thrilled to have the site up and running the way it should be. Along with the server upgrade, we had quite a bit of “migrating” of programs, settings, and data to do. MOST of it went smoothly. One program, however, did NOT like the change at all, our Forums/Blogs software. I was already somewhat frustrated with the support and performance of our old system, so after a few days of beating my head against the wall (and getting mighty fired up at the technical support line), I bit the bullet and upgraded our system to the “Cadillac” of forum and blogging software. This, also, took a bit of time to setup, and because we’d already invested so much in all the student posts and work, I was able to hire an expert to assist in migrating all the data we could (what hadn’t been nutzed up by the previous software) into the new system. And he was gracious enough to give us a great price with amazing service due to the nature of our site (Thank you so much!!!). To help differentiate the old software from the new, and highlight some of the features of the new software, I’ve renamed the “Discussion” area on APlusPhysics “Community,” because really that’s what we’re trying to build. Not only do we now have forums (with some cool new features), and blogs (which even more cool new features), we also have a file repository where we can share electronic documents and programs with each other, we have an online chat system, we have tremendously improved calendars, the ability to better integrate “blocks” of content across the entire site, the ability to create custom pages (such as featured posts, highlighted material, etc. — I’ll turn this part on soon), the ability to incorporate e-books with direct downloads right from the site (instantaneous help!), even the ability to let members promote their good works to others across the entire site. Quite a few of these options I’ll be working on over the coming months, but as of today we have at least as much functionality as the old site, a much prettier graphic interface, and a fast, responsive, reliable site with a support team I have much more confidence in. So what’s next? Well, my first priority is finishing the “skin” of the system. It’s almost there. By the way, did you know you can adjust the color scheme of the site? See that little rainbow grid in the upper right of the community? Click on it and choose your color — whatever mood you’re in, the system can handle! Next, I have some behind-the-scenes work to do to tweak what shows up on the various pages… upcoming calendar events, latest files, users online, etc. They work currently, but I’d like to make their integration just a little more smooth. Nothing major, just have a bit of reading to do. Third, I’ve had quite a few requests to take my Powerpoint slides from the video series and make them available for teachers to use. This may be a bit more involved, as there are some licensing restrictions I’m working with the appropriate parties on, but I’m hopeful we can get something worked out in the not-too-distant future. Fourth, I’d like to get the featured content / topic pages built out. This will be an ongoing “as time allows” effort. This new system has tremendous potential to pull and organize information from a wide variety of sources, the question is “am I smart enough to make it work?” I’m hoping the answer is yes. Fifth, I’d really like to work to promote the downloads section as an area where we as physics instructors can share the best of what we put together for our students. There are both public and educator-only folders, and I think this has tremendous potential to be a great resource for us all, but I’m betting there will be quite a bit of legwork to “sell” this concept to other physics teachers across the world, so that it becomes not just a place for folks to download my work, but a place where we can all collaborate and share with each other. In this, I definitely need your help. If you would, take a minute or two and find one original lesson, worksheet, lab, hands-on activity, whatever… upload it to the “Downloads” section and share it with the rest of us. Can you imagine what a wonderful resource we’d have if each physics teacher shared just one or two amazing activities? Imagine if we then started building off of those… then again and again… we’d have the greatest teaching resource of any discipline (and we’re already well on our way!) Sixth, work hasn’t stopped on the physics videos. I have to admit I’m a touch burnt out after finish the AP Physics C series this year (both Mechanics and E&M), and completing an entire AP-1 / AP-2 sequence for Educator.com (which is currently branded as AP-B but was set up with the new courses in mind). I’m continuing to plug away on the optics section of AP-B, and have a few more pieces to fill in. Once I get through this week my hope is to complete at least one more video per week for the foreseeable future. Last, but not least — I’ve spent the past year doing pre-work for an AP-1 / AP-2 guide book for students (in the vein of Honors Physics Essentials, but specifically directed toward AP-1 / AP-2). As we get to the end of the school year, I want to focus on the BIC (butt in chair) strategy to get a first draft underway. I have tons of notes, outlines, and materials, and from past experience once you get rolling it’s not so bad, but I need to take those first few steps. I just want to make sure I have all my other “gotta get done’s” out of the way before I dive headfirst into this one for the summer. Thanks for all your support, and I look forward to seeing you on the new APlusPhysics Community (by the way, if you haven’t tried it out yet, we’d love to see you! Shoot me an e-mail if you’re a professional physics instructor and I’ll get your access upgraded so you can see into the “teacher-only” parts of the site as well)! Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Rollback due to Technical Difficulties

Hi folks, 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. Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Rollback due to Technical Difficulties

Hi folks, 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 Source

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

Acoustic Levitation

Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have discovered a way to use sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing different pharmaceuticals. While the connection between levitation and drug development may not be immediately apparent, a special relationship emerges at the molecular level. Read more: http://www.anl.gov/articles/no-magic-show-real-world-levitation-inspire-better-pharmaceuticals

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

 

APlusPhysics Chosen as a Finalist for Free Web Redesign!

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! Sincerely, Dan Fullerton APlusPhysics.com

FizziksGuy

FizziksGuy

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