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.
Join us at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA (just 16 miles NW of San Jose, 40 miles south of San Francisco) for the spring conference of the Northern California/Nevada Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Starting with a social and physics show, and observatory tour Friday evening, followed by a full day of physics education speakers and workshops on Saturday.
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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.
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David 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.
Paul (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.
Bree Barnett Dreyfuss, Amador Valley High School
Bree shared examples of story telling in her class room including:
- Using comics & pictures
- Using video clips
- Interpreting graphs & drawings
- Anecdotes and stories of scientists and discoveries
Bree worked with a colleague to develop curriculum surrounding the book The Pluto Files by Neil deGrasse Tyson. She shared curriculum materials from her unit that are available on her website here.
Tom 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
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Join us at Sierra College in Rocklin, CA (just 20 miles NE of Sacramento) for the fall conference of the Northern California/Nevada Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Starting with a social and planetarium and museum tour, followed by a full day of physics education speakers and workshops on Saturday.
Mark your calendars: Our next section conference will be on Friday and Saturday, November 2 and 3, 2012. The Physics Department at Sierra College, in Rocklin (east of Sacramento on I-80) will be hosting. As usual, Friday evening will a mix of education and socializing, followed on Saturday with workshops, show and tell, and speakers, roughly 8:00-4:00. More details will be posted in the fall.
Join us at Lake Tahoe Community College for a day of physics education.
Saturday, April 21st
All sessions are held in the Duke Theater, Room F111
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Our spring conference is set for Saturday, April 21, 2012. The location will be Lake Tahoe Community College, in South Lake Tahoe, CA. We’re now looking for proposals for talks/papers (10-15 minutes) and programs/workshops (30 minutes to two hours).
We accept proposals in all areas of physics education and/or research, and we usually can fit them all in. Deadline for submissions is March 5, 2012. This year we’re taking all proposals online, you can submit yours at http://ncnaapt.org/submit.
First timers are particularly encouraged to submit a proposal–remember that AAPT and its sections exist largely through the contributions of its members (we usually have an invited keynote speaker, but the rest of the program is “just us”). If you’re doing something in your classroom/lecture hall/lab that you’re proud of, please take this opportunity to share it with others (and remember, there’s almost nothing that’s truly new in education, so don’t worry if you think someone has presented it before).
Keep your eyes peeled on out site for registration information (we’ll post this in early March), and be sure to Friend us if you’re on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-CaliforniaNevada-Section-American-Association-of-Physics-Teachers/127898515559