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Almost a week

August 25, 2010

Today in into physics we discussed our findings with pendulums. The discussion was good—students made a number of insights about the best way to measure a period of the pendulum, and they all could clearly see that the period is only affected by the length of the pendulum. However, they had a bit more difficulty teasing out the exact nature of the relationship between length and period, and I didn’t think they were quite ready to jump into linearizing this relationship just yet.

Tomorrow, I think we’re going to go over how to write a linear model for a data set consisting of the time it takes people to check out of the grocery store with varying numbers of items (ht to Dan Meyer), and then I’m going to challenge each of the students to build pendulums with different lengths (0.5s, 1s, 1.5s, etc), and then we’re going to hang them equally spaced from the whiteboard, to see the quadratic relationship between time and length. This should be a gentle way to lead them into linearization.

Memo to self: don’t start with trying to figure out the model for a pendulum next time with intro.

OTOH, my honors class blazed through a bunch of material today, almost completely on their own. They completely figured out how to read and analyze position and velocity graphs, and then verified their work using the motion sensor, and were able to come back together to tease apart just how a motion sensor works.

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