Today was Honors Physics first lab practicum. They had to create a model for the period of a mass on a spring and use that model to determine the mass of an unknown. Here are the unknowns:
At the first meeting for new members, the Huskie Robotics team split into groups of returning and new members and competed in the Paper Challenge. The Paper Challenge is an activity some of our team members learned from another team, Winnovation (Team 1625) at one of their workshops. The basic idea is to build a structure to support an egg as far from the floor as possible and build another structure which will allow the egg to roll as far a distance as possible. Tape is allowed, but if tape is not used points for the first structure are multiplied by four. It was a lot of fun and since we had 45 potential new members at the meeting, we had a lot of groups! Here is one of my favorite structures:
I realize that yesterday’s entry was about measurement uncertainty and was a histogram, but this is too cool not to share. I didn’t take a look at the data for the measurement uncertainty activity involving the elapsed time of a cart on a ramp. When we setup this activity, we gathered all of the data in a single spreadsheet, but we setup two stations (two ramps, two cars, two set of photogates) in a similar manner (same starting position of cart, same position of photogates, similar angle of inclination). The angle of inclination wasn’t set as precisely as I could have set it. When I saw the histogram this morning and when I shared it with the students during class today, we all had the same insight: each of the two peaks corresponds to the two setups! I thought this was an awesome example of the insight large sets of data can provide when analyzed.
Today, Honors Physics explored measurement uncertainty through a series of activities. Tomorrow, I’ll share this aggregated data from all six sections and we’ll discuss how a large data set can be used to specify the uncertainty. This histogram shows the measurements of how long a “light” in a computer program is lighted: 5.418 +/- 0.064 s
Today students tested their model against the Pendulum of Death (a quiet death, death, death echoes…)! Some groups couldn’t definitive choose a relationship and prepared two predictions. After calculating the percent difference (1% for one model and > 20% for the other, their choice was clear!
After whiteboarding the pendulum lab, inconclusive results, discussing best practices for gathering data, students wanted to gather new data for the pendulum lab. Their goal is to generalize their model and apply it to the bowling ball pendulum in the room. There wasn’t consensus on how to measure its length; so, they measured it several ways!
Great initial meeting of the leads of the new Technology Integration Team. I shared the highlights of my recent rant about EdTech which was warmly received. We will be reading Creating Innovators, which looks good. I was having so much fun, I almost forgot to go to class and was a few minutes late!
Whiteboarding special relativity problems. Resulted in the realization of velocity invariance.