[Update] Changing student perceptions flyers are rolling in!

Earlier this week I put out a request for people who identify as scientists, engineers, or as working in a technical field who also happen to identify as women or people of color to share a picture of themselves and a brief summary of what they do and who they are.

The response so far has [...]

Pipe Insulation Roller Coaster Assessment

Welcome back. If you haven't joined us for the last two posts, let me recommend that you first read about determining rolling friction on the coaster and the project overview.

On to the assessment...

Assessment is extremely important. It explicitly informs students what things we value (and thus the things we value). If we assess [...]

Pipe Insulation Roller Coasters: Rolling Friction

Fair warning: This isn't a description of the pipe insulation roller coaster (a.k.a. PI Coaster) project. It is the activity we did immediately before starting on the roller coasters.

The PI coaster project was one of those quality projects that students enjoyed while still requiring solid content knowledge. I last used this project in [...]

Learning Tracker Video Analysis with Napoleon Dynamite

I know I'm late to the game. Rhett Allain, John Burk, Frank Noschese, among many others have been sharing how they use Tracker (or a similar tool) to analyze the physics of videos. Since I'm working on picking up my teaching certification in Physics this year, I figure this would be a nice [...]

Rubber Band Cars

There's something powerful about physically making something that works yourself. The tinkering, trial and error testing, and early frustration often lead to some impressive feelings of accomplishment in the end.

This year when covering the types of energy and energy transformations, I realized a project I ran for 6 years at my school in Michigan [...]

Teachable Moments, for all of us


On Friday, when discussing the earthquake and tsunami that had just struck Japan, I remember saying to students, "It looks like the death toll will be in the hundreds, which is horrible, but considering the size of the earthquake is pretty low." Well...as I write this,1 the official death toll is at 2,414 and expected [...]

Summer thoughts

Summer...that magical time where I look forward to reading1, thinking, and relaxing...but in actuality it usually gets eaten up quickly by either Master's projects (last summer) or landscaping projects (this summer). Obviously my posting to this site has been drastically reduced the last couple months. There a few things floating around my head that I'll [...]

Me to Neil deGrasse Tyson: Let's do this!

I've been a fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson for a long time. He's even my friend on the facebook1.

Today, however, he earns a new level of respect plus several thousand cool points. Thanks to a post over on Stop Trying to Inspire Me, I found an interview he did with Linda Holmes for NPR [...]

Take 2: Student produced video projects

I previously vented my frustrations about the losing so much time to preventable problems while doing my first video project, though despite these issues I decided to give it another go. I feel the project design is pretty strong, so I didn't want to just scrap it because of some technical issues. After today's "Grand [...]

Science = Curiosity + Skepticism

Okay, so there is more to science than just curiosity & skepticism- but if my young students leave my class with that understanding, I'd be a happy human.

I've been grappling for awhile now with how to introduce my 14-15 year old freshmen to what it means to be a scientist. Science is too often [...]