Archive for September, 2008

Long Island Cheese, etc

27 September 2008

So, Long Island Cheese is a type of pumpkin, or squash.  It looks just like a round of cheese, as you can see of the photo of Buzz checking it out:

Isn’t it pretty?  I’m going to let it be a decoration for a while before cutting it up and cooking it, and freezing the pulp to use in pie, soup, muffins, or whatever.  By taking this pumpkin from the CSA delivery this week, I have to let our friends who share our share to take the next pumpkin that comes along…they just don’t keep as long is you split them in half, nor are they as useful as décor.

What else is going on?

In school news, we had open house on Thursday night, and it was mostly successful for me.  I had a computer meltdown during one of my sessions with parents, and was unable to show the powerpoint I had spent all afternoon preparing, and just barely got into the interesting things on my school website, to which I had spent the afternoon adding a bunch of photos of what we’ve been doing so far this year.  I only managed to get as far as demonstrating real-time graphing of motion with a motion sensor with one of the physics 1 classes, but I did tell ALL of the parents about Physics Olympics!  I explained the homework system, talked about technology, and wore glowing LEDs in the school colors on my jacket lapel all evening.

In home news, I want to put one last coat of paint on the guest room this weekend before calling the walls done, and then I can take the blue tape off put up the new blinds.  Maybe I will even go shopping for curtains (how hard can it be to find plain white curtains?  I guess I’ll find out!)  Meanwhile, I have way too much cardboard in the house that needs to be recycled, but I need to wait for a non-rainy weekend day to take care of it.  The mail is piling up, end-of-the-month bills need to be paid, and as I did last weekend I left ALL my homework for my grad course until the weekend.  Plus, I hope to have all the lab reports in my backpack graded by Monday.  Yep, call me ambitious.

Well, it’s nearly noon and I’d better start the laundry, or it won’t get done today!

Why I love my job

24 September 2008

Things like this make me love my job.  I challenged students to make a device to measure mass, time, temperature, or force.  Two of the groups are measuring time with a water clock.  One of those two groups has constucted an elegant, constant-pressure water clock (detail above).  I have been enjoying watching the students collaborate, cogitate, and calibrate!  I have also been enjoying observing the intensity of the effort and the interest with which they are pursuing their goals.  I am looking forward to a great year of projects this year!


23 September 2008

My husband and I have been very good about bringing our own bags to the grocery store.  We keep a bunch of tote bags in the car and I mostly remember to put them back in the car after bringing the groceries into the house.  As a result, we are getting critically low on the plastic bags that we use for

  • small wastebasket liners
  • disposing of the results of cleaning the cat’s litter box
  • disposing of the mice we’ve been trapping indoors now that the weather is cooler
  • containing the foam packing peanuts that come in boxes
  • pulling out and disposing of poison ivy

…and myriad other uses.

Seriously, we are down to fewer than 10 bags with no holes, and some of them are odd sizes that can’t be used as a wastebasket liner.

Such are the consequences of being green.  The next time I go to the store, I’m going to have to get plastic bags.  We’ve also had to figure out an alternative to using paper bags to put our paper recycling in.  We’ve solved that with cardboard boxes…but we have to remember not to dump the boxes in the paper recycling (we take it to a community bin because our community does not do curbside recycling) but to bring them home instead.

Other consequences I’ve been thinking of:

  • If I assign students work to hand in, I will have to evaluate/grade/mark it
  • If I go to bed too late, I have a hard time getting up on time
  • If I put the wool blanket on the bed, the cat will spend a lot more time on the bed than usual
  • If I wait to the last minute to do my graduate course work, I get stressed about it

As I tell my students, every action has consequences.  It is up to you (or in this case, me) to decide how to act and then to deal with the consequences.

Dew is beautiful

13 September 2008

Morning Dew, originally uploaded by Monster..

There are some beautiful photos of dew on Scienceray. This is one of them, from flickr member Monster. Wow!

By the way, Monster also has some amazing Peru photos!

Back to having no time!

7 September 2008

OK, school has started and I have no time again.  So what has been going on?

Well, school.  I have three classes of “honors” level physics 1, which is my school’s middle level–“academic” is our conceptual level and “seminar” is our most challenging level.  I haven’t taught this level of physics 1 since my first year in this school, and I am now in my 7th year there.  As a result, I have slightly more obedient kids than usual who know a bit more about math, graphing, and significant figures.  They had a more demanding chemistry class than the kids I’m used to, and are expecting rigor.

On Friday one of my physics 1 classes presented the results of our pendulum experiment to each other.  Two groups had both investigated the relationship between the period of the pendulum and  how far back you pull it in order to start it going.  One group said they had found a proportional relationship, and their graph showed a slightly slanted set of points.  The other group had more of a zig-zag, and decided that the data indicated no relationship.  The two groups were in disagreement, and they had a lovely little scientific argument with each other using their data to back up what they were saying.  It was great!

My other two physics 1 classes will be doing that tomorrow.

I also have one class of physics 2, non-AP, and we are doing a unit on measurement and uncertainty to begin.  Then we will do fluids!  Fluids are fun, because we’ll float things in air and in water, and maybe in some other substances, and we can make hydrometers and Cartesian divers and investigate viscosity!

I’ve got several new kids in Science Olympiad, and I’m signed up for the October 6 Science Fair meeting.  Physics Olympics is getting underway, and I am hosting the first meet at my school.  That will also be in October.

I have my new glasses, I’m immersed in my online graduate course (in between church and Scottish dance demo rehearsal and laundry and meals I have been working on a lab all day for class), and today was the first day I was back in church since June.  Of course I had to say hi to lots of friends who I hadn’t seen for a few months!

So, in other words I am back to being as busy as ever!

Here are the new glasses.  My loving husband watched me try to take this photo and thought it was hilarious.  The red-looking ones are the reading glasses, and in real life are much more purple-y, but the camera flash sometimes distorts colors.

Here I am wearing the regular-vision glasses.