Sun|trek Educational Site

The January 2010 issue of Physics Today's web watch section mentioned the Sun|trek web site which contains a number of resource for learning about the Sun and it's effect on the Earth.  The material is varied and the comment about being "devoted to teaching schoolchildren" is a bit vague on the age group, but the format includes a large number of images and other materials that make it engaging, certainly for middle school and possibly for older elementary students (depending on the lesson).  Of course, some of the material is clearly target

Bay Ridge Regional Science Lab Proposal

Tonight I attended a community meeting where the main topic of new business was a presentation by Thomas Greene, formerly a teacher at Fort Hamilton High School here in Bay Ridge and now an adjunct professor at Kingsborough Community College, part of the CUNY system.

Physics at Home, Science Projects

The American Physical Society has a nice web site called "Physics Central" which has, among other things, a section called Physics@Home.  For those of you who put off you science fair projects until the last minute, have a look at some of the things you can try at home.  The laser and jello experiment looks not only interesting, but also quite yummy.

Light Pollution from Digital/Video Billboards

This has been one of my pet peeves for a while, and my kids can already point out the things I'm going to whine about as we drive along the BQE (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway) coming home from Queens.  There are several of these video billboards along the road.  I have always found it ironic that there are laws dealing with "distracted driving" when the driver does something to distract himself, but nothing about allowing third-parties to deliberately try to distract the driver.  I mean, what else does any billboard do but try to draw attention to itself. 

Elements of Humanity

I first saw the reference to the Elements of Humanity web site in Physics Today although I subscribe to MAKE Magazine who made the site.  Elements of Humanity is a set of interviews with 12 scientist and engineers who talk about what inspired them to choose their careers.  Some of them are fascinating for teachers, some more so for students, but all of them are well done and help break the stereotype of scientists in white lab coats.

NALTA: North America Large-area Time-coincidence Arrays

Okay, that's a mouthful.  I first read about this a month ago and put it on my list of things to look into.  What I was hoping for was something that might be applicable for participation by middle school students.  NALTA is a cosmic-ray detection experiment which requires fairly simple equipment which is placed on the school roof and is largely (completely?) maintenance free. 

WeatherBug Example Exercises

I've been advocating the use of WeatherBug data in normal classroom exercise for a while.  I'm not sure that it's caught on, so I decided to start putting together some sample exercises.  This section is that, the examples.  As example, they are "fully worked" meaning I ask questions and then provide answers.  Of course, in many cases, all you have to do to avoid having students just copy my answers is change the date from which I took the data.  If I take temperature data from September 30th, then do an exercise for November 1st.  Same problems, different data

WeatherBug Exercise 1 (Math): Temperature Statistics: Max, Min, Range, Median, Mean

The process of calculating an average is not hard, but it can be tedious. So, in math class, the children are often given a set of made-up numbers that make the process easier. In this exercise, you don't get a break; we're going to use real data from the WeatherBug at P.S. 102 for December 1, 2009.  Here are the hourly temperatures:

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