Day 148: Projects & Earthquake Engineering

AP Physics: Projects

Students continued to work on their final projects. There was a range of how well students were using the time; I suspect part of the problem is they aren’t clear on what I’m looking for in the final product, so I need to spend some time clarifying that Monday and reviewing my expectations. I’m pretty excited about the projects students are working on so far; one student is digging into a certain move in his favorite video game using video analysis and got stuck figuring out how to deal with the camera panning during the move. He ended up tracking a background point, then using a calculated column to find the character’s position relative to that point, which produced a beautiful parabola.

Earth Science: Earthquake Engineering

Students designed towers intended to stay upright during an earthquake. We ran out of time to test the towers, so that will wait until Monday.  Students are just using straws, but I’d like to think about how to encourage students to think about stability at the highest levels. This is also a tough activity for students to really connect to their science knowledge; they are better equipped to justify ideas for shake tests than to justify ideas for a tower design. Even so, students pulled in some interesting ideas from geometry. A few students who were in my class last tri also took some ideas from the Marshmallow Challenge we’d done.

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