Saturday, February 07, 2009

Sounds like a heat wave: PTSOS2 RA09 afterlinks 2

The second half of January's PTSOS2 New Teacher Workshop at Rio Americano was devoted to mechanical waves and sound.

Book of Phyz coverage of Waves (Physics 1)
Book of Phyz coverage of Harmonic Motion and Resonance (AP Physics 2)

We looked at (and listened to) Pasco's WavePort software. Lots of potential there. Try it for free when you get to waves and run the activities I designed for use in conjunction with it.

We also ran PhET's Wave Interference simulator. I wrote an activity for that simulator focused on the basics, but our participants ran through it like kids in a candy store, finding the interference modes, and the sound-generator, and the light/color-generator.

I use the Physics: Cinema Classics clip on the Bell Jar to show that "In space, no one can hear you scream." (Reference: Waves (I)>Periodic Waves>Sound.)

As a flashy demo combining heat, sound, and waves, Steve brought his Ruben's Tube. The Mythbusters have a nice Ruben's Tube clip on YouTube.

They also have a nice clip of another demo that Steve showed: Fun with Gas! (And kids: even if you can get your hands on sulfur hexafluoride, don't try this at home!)

My Web Video page gives access to a few supersonic fighter jet video clips. Nice when talking about shock waves and sonic booms. Another sonic boom classic is the opening sequence from the Imax film, The Dream is Alive.

We finished the day with Steve's "String Machine" make-n-take. He brought the parts and tools; PTSOSers brought the energy and labor! The Exploratorium has a similar String Machine snack posted online. This project garnered rave reviews from power-tool-wielding participants.

Jeff Milner's Backmasking page has nicely produced examples of auditory pareidolia. Jeff has a follow-up post, too.

If you like the Mythbusters and/or are intrigued by the backmasking site (and our ability to fool ourselves), please look in to the James Randi Educational Foundation and The Amaz!ng Meeting. Science teachers play a critical role in teaching critical thinking and skepticism. The JREF and TAM are great resources in that regard.

Also in the day's binder pages was the latest set of Released Test Questions from the California Standards Test in Physics. An updated set with 15 more questions should be appearing soon. Check the "Physics RTQ" link to the right. The 2008 edition had 74 RTQs. The 2009 edition should have 89.

Thanks--as always--to The Northern California and Nevada Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers and The Karl Leslie Brown Memorial Scholarship Fund for making PTSOS possible. And thanks to our participants for making PTSOS awesome!

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