Day 137: Universal Gravitation & Glacier Video

After no classes yesterday due to state testing, we got back in the swing of things today.

AP Physics: Universal Gravitation

Today continued quick and dirty coverage of some topics on the AP exam that we haven’t really addressed yet. Today, I asked students whether uniform circular motion or free fall is a better description of the Moon’s motion, and students went very quickly to wanting to find the acceleration, so I gave them the Moon’s period and orbital radius, and got out of the way. This served as a nice refresher on circular motion. Once students got a tiny acceleration, we reasoned that a 1/r2 relationship might make sense for gravity and checked that against gravity at Earth’s surface and get to the Law of Universal Gravitation.  Then, since most of my students saw Coulomb’s Law in chemistry, we used the parallels with gravity to make sense of that formula.

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Earth Science: Glacier Video

With conferences tonight, I went ahead and showed the video in the curriculum for today. The video was about the data sources glaciers can provide, which got me thinking about how to have students explore those data sources in the lab. For glacier movement, I’m wondering of something like gak could be used to simulate a glacier, maybe with food coloring drops or toothpick flags to track specific points. For the ice cores, I was thinking it would be really cool to find some scale photos of actual ice cores, especially if I could find a way to have students compare the core data to weather data for that year. Of course I thought of all this while watching the video, rather than last night while I stared at the curriculum materials. Oh well.

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