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Posted by on 05 Jun 2012 | Tagged as: birds, education, fun, garden, Gardens and Life, good things, optics, science, Uncategorized, weather

A once-in-three-lifetimes event…

Here are three pictures I took of our planet-watching today. Tom, setting up the telescope, an extreme-zoom view of the planet where the sun is much bigger than the aperture of the scope, and a zoomed out view where the speck is more proportional.

The weather cooperated uncharacteristically, turning “mostly sunny” just as the transit began. Otherwise, the forecast yesterday and today, and for much of the week, is supposed to be non-stop rain. We got lucky, and the plants got a little more light.

There were also two gorgeous eagles flying overhead… here is the youtube link. You can hear how upset the crows were!

Poem a Day April 3, 2012

Posted by on 03 Apr 2012 | Tagged as: NaPoWriMo, optics, poetry, Poetry Month, science, Uncategorized

Far Infrared

deep in the cold
dark and hidden
light-filled chambers
distant echoes
modern ears
perceive brilliant
edge to edge
the signal travels
“I am here”
what the eye cannot see
what the ear cannot hear
your mind may grasp

As usual, I needed to go on a hunt to figure out what this scientific term really means. Short of several years’ study… I discovered that far infrared actually shows COOLER objects than warmer! It also seems to show more distant objects than mid and near infrared. I assume it has something to do with the change in wavelength, perhaps at the far infrared the cool signatures just stay intact longer. However, most of the astronomy seems to be done with mid infrared.

Here are a couple of websites to help fill in a few details. The first, from Cal Tech has a lot of additional background pages linked at the bottom. A quick explanation of the EMR spectrum at the University of Tennessee. And the JPL-NASA-Cal Tech project called IPAC, which is the parent page from the first link. This last has up-to-date details on the most current research and lots of pictures!

Wednesday Wonderings: What Works?

Posted by on 16 Feb 2011 | Tagged as: force and motion, measurement, optics, required journal, Uncategorized

I have been spending a lot of time cogitating, and basically spinning my wheels. I loved the way that Jana structured the final optics exploration: we self-assessed and then discussed our learning. Memorable for me was Jana’s description of how she decided to create shoebox cameras obscuras pretty much FIRST rather than last. The structure of Jana’s unit was to start with what we knew about light and then take it apart, and then at the end to look at how all the pieces went together, reviewing our learning. I am definitely thinking about this for the physics unit.

This week I added a page (see the top bar, far left) called A Unit Plan to hold my finished unit. It will be amended and updated as I have ideas.

I also received clarification that I need 25 resources all-together, not 25 websites plus additional. I pulled a lot of books off my home bookshelves and annotated them (Books on My Shelf) to go along with the web-based resources that I have annotated (Science Websites). Thus, this requirement is technically complete.

The unit needs to include interdisciplinary, differentiated and multicultural elements. I am still working on that piece. Today I remembered my text from the Math strand for elementary folks, and pulled that book out. It has a wealth of information that helps me see how to form some of the essential (big and transferable) ideas for the unit.

Optics — Physics, Art and Fun!

Posted by on 14 Jan 2011 | Tagged as: optics, Uncategorized

Exploring the nature of light, and the way that vision works, today we explored a pinhole camera and a camera obscura.

Questions to consider:

  • What makes vision possible?
  • How does light move?
  • What is a reflection?
  • What is refraction?
  • What is a lens (hint: consider shape)?
  • What is the difference between seeing something directly, and looking at an image?

Cozy Science

Posted by on 14 Jan 2011 | Tagged as: force and motion, invitation, optics, Uncategorized

Got time to pull up a chair and have a spot of tea?  Join me as we explore the wonderful world of science!

There will be two main categories in this journal:  optics (whole class activities) and measurement of force and motion.  I am choosing the measurement because I know that can be a challenging task even through high school and because force and motion are fun to play with.  There will also be a strong mathematics connection and some cultural/historical connections that will let me think about integrated curriculum.