Unrecognized/unknown equipment in your physics closet?

It’s summer, which means many of us will be moving into new schools, or cleaning out old ones. It’s not unusual to come across equipment that you have no idea how it is used (even for veteran teachers!). In light of that, we and PTSOS have created a new Twitter hashtag to use our collective wisdom to help identify unknown equipment:Twitter unkown equipment image

#unknonwnequipment

If you are on Twitter, feel free to ask and answer questions about equipment.

Call for Posters

Are you doing something that should be shared with other physics teachers?  Will it take more time than the five-minute limit in Share-and-Tell?  In that case, please sign up to present a poster.  We’ll start the conference with our poster session, and have another go at them during lunch.

In order to encourage people to contribute posters, we will print 3×2 posters at a subsidized rate, free for K-12 teachers and grad students, and $25 for college and university professors. These posters should be submitted as PDF files, and this offer has a deadline of October 30.  Once your abstract is registered, you will be emailed additional instructions.

What topics can be covered?  Anything that tickles your fancy as a physics teacher that you think will help our community.  This could be a neat experiment, original research, cool projects for your students, a report-back from a field trip that worked, an innovative way to approach grading, or anything else that you would like to share with fellow teachers.

But what if you’ve never done a poster?  Here are some templates plus a sample poster:

Here are some more links that might help get you started:

At the end of the day, don’t get too caught up on how pretty or ugly the poster looks, we want to hear your ideas!

For those printing out their own posters, let’s max out at roughly four feet by four feet.

Pluto New Horizon Mission Tweets

You can see the latest developments for the Pluto Hew Horizons mission. Their most recent tweets appear below (they make take a few seconds to appear, and you can scroll down to see older ones).

Exploratorium celebrates two years at Pier 15, win a lifetime membership

Kid at ExploratoriumHelp the Exploratorium celebrate their 2nd anniversary at Pier 15 on April 17. Share what you love most about our new home for a chance to win a lifetime Dual Explorers membership and a $500 gift card to the Exploratorium Store.

Share your favorite exhibits, views, and memories of Pier 15 for a chance to win a lifetime of exploration, curiosity, and creativity.

Complete details here: http://exploratorium.tumblr.com/post/114682402009/2nd-year-at-the-pier-instagram-contest

Next Generation Science Standards, second draft version

The second draft of the Next Generation Science Standards have come and gone (comment period was in January 2013). The January 2013 draft version has been removed from the official website, but you can still find it here.

Continue reading “Next Generation Science Standards, second draft version”

LCROSS lunar impact videos and images on the web

Here’s a video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVYKjR1sJY4

a mid-infrared (MIR) image showing the flash of the Centaur impact:
and an image of an even larger impact we performed  about 40 years ago: the Apollo 14 booster stage for calibrating Apollo 12’s seismometers:
And NASA’s LCROSS page: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/main/

Mythbusters Premiere tonight!

In their Season Premiere the Mythbusters will take on the infamous projectile problem of a dropped vs shot bullet. While teaching projectiles, many teachers use an example of shooting a bullet horizontally and dropping one next to it at the same time. While students agree that this may hold true for slow projectiles, they often don’t believe that that gravity would act on something moving really fast, like a bullet. On their season premiere tonight, 9pm PST, the Mythbusters will be testing this out in “Knock Your Socks Off.”

NASA Releases Restored Apollo 11 Moonwalk Video

NASA moon logoWASHINGTON, July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA released Thursday newly restored video from the July 20, 1969, live television broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. The release commemorates the 40th anniversary of the first mission to land astronauts on the moon.

The initial video release, part of a larger Apollo 11 moonwalk restoration project, features 15 key moments from the historic lunar excursion of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

A team of Apollo-era engineers who helped produce the 1969 live broadcast of the moonwalk acquired the best of the broadcast-format video from a variety of sources for the restoration effort. These included a copy of a tape recorded at NASA’s Sydney, Australia, video switching center, where down-linked television from Parkes and Honeysuckle Creek was received for transmission to the U.S.; original broadcast tapes from the CBS News Archive recorded via direct microwave and landline feeds from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston; and kinescopes found in film vaults at Johnson that had not been viewed for 36 years.

NASA Television will provide an HD video feed of the Apollo footage hourly from 12 – 7 p.m. on July 16 and 17. Each feed is one hour. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/ntv

A copy of the newly restored scenes from the Apollo 11 restoration effort can be found at:

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/hd/apollo11.html

NASA’s Apollo 40th anniversary Web sites provide easy access to various agency resources and multimedia about the program and the history of human spaceflight, including a gallery of Apollo multimedia features. Visit the site at:

http://www.nasa.gov/apollo40th

Other Apollo 11 resources

  • JFK Library Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing
  • WeChooseTheMoon.org “The site will plug you into the current state of the mission and has many tangents to keep you occupied during quiet times (especially the “loss of signal” intervals). Keep the site running in the background while you work away at the tasks of the day.” [Thanks, Dean Baird, for the quote]


Using Google Maps to show wave refraction in water

Physics educators have used photos of natural and man-made breakwaters to show refraction for probably as long as we’ve had photography. But now online mapping web sites (Google, Yahoo. etc.) allow you to find locations near you to make the images more tangible to your students. Oceans and bays are full of images of refraction, but you may also find diffraction patterns in a large lake.

Below is an example from a breakwater in Berkeley, CA, in the San Francisco Bay


View Larger Map
Check water bodies around your institution to find examples you can use with your students. Most mapping sites allow you to save landmarks in a “My maps” section, so once you find a good location, you can save it, then pull it up from a list when you need to show it in class.

One warning: Map sites update their satellite photographs every so often (as the USGS releases newer ones), so check your location before your lecture to make sure your pattern is still there!