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


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

Vernier Data Collection workshop in SF Bay Area

There are hands-on Vernier workshops coming to our area, and seats are still available.

Photo of data collectionData-collection Workshop in Santa Clara, CA

  • Monday, April 27, 2015
  • 4:00 – 8:00 PM
  • Santa Clara Marriott
    2700 Mission College Blvd.
    Santa Clara, CA 95054
  • Details and registration »

Data-collection Workshop in San Francisco, CA

Join us to learn how to integrate our data-collection technology into your science curriculum. You will have the opportunity to explore our award-winning sensor interface, the Vernier LabQuest.

For more information and online registration, go to our website or e-mail us at register@vernier.com.

Best regards,
Vernier Software & Technology

PS. Our local Vernier contact is long-time NCN AAPT member Clarence Bakken, who you can reach at cbakken2001@yahoo.com

App Share-a-thon from AAPT in Minneapolis

apps presented at Share-a-thon

The following links are in the order they were presented.

Error Calc screenshot
Error Calc screenshot from an iPhone

You want tech in your classroom? We have both flavors…

Today’s workshop on technology and equipment combined the best educational tech/software/equipment companies, PASCO and Vernier. About twenty educators gathered at St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco to see the best of the new as well as some classic demonstrations.

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Accelerometers and Great America: Here’s your ‘permission slip’

Last year, after more than a decade of bringing students (and their accelerometers) to Great America, Phillip Becker of Saint Helena High School was shocked to be informed by park staff that students would not be allowed to bring their accelerometers on the rides. Disappointment ruled the day, but his students made the best of it. Upon returning to school, Mr. Becker typed out a to-the-point letter to Cedar Fair Entertainment Company (the parent company for Great America), expressing his outrage at this change in policy. Shortly thereafter, Cedar Fair Entertainment replied, with a letter notifying him that there had been no change in policy, and apologizing for the mistake by the local park staff/management.

If you are planning on attending a Physics/Math day at Great America, you may want to print out a copy of the letter from Cedar Fair and carry it with you to the park, just in case this year’s staff/management makes a similar mistake.

Physics of Baseball

David KaganDavid Kagan, CSU Chico

All of David’s material related to the Physics of Baseball are available on his website: Phys.csuchico.edu/baseball

David demonstrated the Physics of the Baseball bat including the progression of the baseball bat. He explained how to find the center of percussion of the baseball bat as well as the center of vibration.  The “sweet spot” of a bat is where the center of percussion and the center of vibration meet which means that the player will minimize the jarring force of the bat. David showed us many high speed videos from the playoffs that show the compression of a baseball bat being hit and the reaction of the bat after the impact. David demonstrated his rubber bat that has no internal support so that it can create a standing wave. By putting together that information, your students can choose the correction direction that the bat will swing and even guess where the baseball will break if it is outside or inside of the sweet spot.

Pablo showing off his collector baseballsPaul (Pablo) Robinson, San Mateo High School, retired

Pablo shared the physics of the splash hits in the San Francisco Giants Stadium. The ballpark has been designed for maximum home runs and the majority are hit to right field, where the ballpark meets the bay. He discussed the geometry of the park and where a home run is most likely hit.

He has more materials on the change in velocity of a ball hit on different planets, the Physics of a home run, etc. Visit his website for additional materials and videos.

Fall 2012 Conference Share ‘n Tell

Tom at Share n TellTom Woosnam, Crystal Springs

Tom showed us a conducting experiment (picture to come) with two cans and a two copper wires that do not touch and attach to a coup of water. After the cup of water is filled a small neon bulb that that is connected to one of the two copper wires can discharge repeatedly. Tom’s best guess as to why it flashes is that one of the metal cans becomes randomly charged, say negatively, and that negative charge travels up the conducting materials to the water and repels electrons through the other wire to the other side that builds up potential.


Dan Burns, Los Gatos High School

Continue reading “Fall 2012 Conference Share ‘n Tell”

Physics Equipment Donation at Sacramento State

Sac State logoFrom Hossein Partovi at Sacramento State:

We have put aside a large collection of lab equipment (scopes, meters, supplies, light sources, PAACO interfacing devices, …) to give away to schools and colleges on Saturday, October 16, 2010 (in Room 138, Sequoia Building, i.e., first floor of the science building), 9-12 AM. You can preview them on Friday, October 8, 2010, 1-3 PM.

If interested, please

  1. Print the attached acceptance letter (a “WORD” document) on your official letterhead, have it signed by your school or college official, and bring it with you on October 16th, and
  2. RSVP both October 8th and 16th events to let us know that you are coming by responding to physicschair@csus.edu.

Afternoon Sessions Schedule: Spring Meeting

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

(See complete Friday/Saturday agenda here)

Contributed Papers, Video Clips & computer Bits – room 307

2:00 iFly Indoor Skydiving –Field Trips – Cailin Creighton

A discussion of physics topics relating to skydiving, indoor skydiving, and the operation of vertical wind tunnels.  Also, information on how to bring your students on a field trip to a vertical wind tunnel for an educational program that includes experiments, a lecture, a tour, and flying!

2:20 Wind Energy: A Sustainable Future? – Scott Perry

Other than hydro-electric and nuclear power wind energy has been by far the most robust of what many are calling green-energy.  What are our prospects for moving to a more sustainable balance between human needs and the Earth’s resources?

2:40 Lunar Lander Project – Byron Philhour

Students in AP Physics learn Excel and simulate the Apollo missions to the moon over the course of a semester.

3:00 Not the Usual Coupled Oscillators – Bernard Cleyet

The Keynote shows pics of the app. and motion pics. (Video?) of the normal modes, etc.

3:20 Bree Barnett Dreyfuss

Using Class Facebook Fan Pages

Our students are often on the cutting edge of new communication technology while teachers may take a little longer to catch up. Don’t be left behind! Try using Facebook to communicate with students and share information away from school. Although class websites offer a breadth of information and resources not easily shared elsewhere, they are not interactive for students. Come learn how my Facebook Fan Page is used and how to set up your own!

Quick & Dirty (& Fun) Physics Demoes – room 306

2:00  Physics Magic – Chuck Hunt

Magic tricks to use in class.

2:20 Constant Velocity Cars – Lee Trampleasure

An intro lab from the Modeling curriculum, in this activity students measure the position of electric toy cars every couple seconds, then graph position vs time to discover velocity is change in position / change in time.

2:40 Modulated LED and Modulated Coil – Don Rathjen

The original versions are in the Square Wheels book co-authored by myself and Paul Doherty, published by the Exploratorium in 2002. I’ll  show “updated” versions using an iPod to replace a transistor radio in both demos, and an LED flashlight to replace an LED plus resistor in the Modulated LED

3:00 The Visible Speaker, Coupled Coils, Lamps & More – Stuart Loucks

Some surprising E&M demoes

3:20 – 4:00 As Many Demoes As We can Do In 40 Minutes – ARC Staff

Something for everyone!!!