Day 55

CSP working on AP questions for the digital art scene they made. I just love this answer for the “purpose of their code”:

2a. For this program, our group based our code upon the language of Javascript. The purpose of our program was to create a digital scene to express our support for the Jewish community in the Pittsburgh region. The user should expect to see the words “Stronger Than Hate” along with the Pittsburgh Steelers logo, where the yellow star is replicated as the Star of David.

I am trying to figure out my timing on when to do the Explore Performance Task. May be changing my whole plan.

Big CS Ed week news! Google is coming to my classes on 12/7, and a group of 8th grade girls is coming up on 12/4 to learn how to code and to use the Virtual Reality equipment. The AP kids will be teaching them, we’re going to use Hour of Code Dance Party. It’s irresistible.

And the HS kids think snacks would also be beneficial for the girls’ visit. 🙂


Day 53

I was out today but my phone kept buzzing with Padlet notifications as CSP kids were uploading screenshots of their digital art scenes. Padlet lets them “like” each other’s and even comment on them. So happy with the results. It’s a very open-ended project (a few kids asked for details like how many functions did they need, which I would just answer with “as many as you need to make it awesome”), and I’m proud of how they worked on it. Groups were typically 4 students, and that’s a lot of communication and sharing of code, but they did it.

Here’s the link to the Padlet to see them all:

Day 52

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 4.30.23 PM

Physics reviewed the results of their free fall lab from Friday, but was really surprised that all of the various, random balls we used in the lab all had the same acceleration. Surely heavier things fall faster, right??

This is always my favorite physics class, when kids prove to themselves that it’s really true. I told them if we dropped a piano and a golf ball, they would land at the same time. Some kids are nodding along, because they have heard and remembered somewhere that everything falls at the same rate. But I keep pushing — do we really believe that? In our gut? And slowly, they cave and admit it doesn’t seem right.

Would a piece of paper and a heavy textbook land at the same time? Obviously no, the paper would flutter to the ground. What if we balled up the piece of paper? No one believed that the textbook and wad of paper would land at the same time, and they are literally begging to try it. And so we do—and voila, they absolutely do land at the same time! They videoed each other in slow-motion, here’s a great one:

So simple but incontrovertible. They walked in with a firmly held misconception, and walked out having constructed their own meaning of the truth that all things do accelerate at the same rate.

Bonus — then I asked what happens on the Moon, because there’s no air to affect objects like a feather. A few conjectures were made, then we watched the Apollo 15 video of the feather and hammer being dropped on the Moon, and yep, they land at the same time. Dang, these laws of physics work everywhere.

Day 49

I cannot believe this lab worked on their chromebooks. Thank you to the tech department for their patience and help!

To introduce acceleration due to gravity (how quickly things drop on Earth due to gravity), students hooked up a motion detector to their chromebook, pointing the detector straight up. They then dropped a kickball from as high as they could get it, while Sparkvue create the position, velocity, and acceleration graphs in real time. They knew what to look for, and had Sparkvue calculate the slope of the v-t graph, which is the acceleration due to gravity.

Every student was able to do the lab on their own CB, I was never able to do that with the old laptops.

So physics experimentally determined that “g” on Earth is approximately 9.8 m/s2. They didn’t have to just believe me. And every single student worked with Sparkvue and then uploaded a screenshot to Sapphire Dropbox. Nice.

Great physics day.

Day 48

I love this project. Physics is working through accelerated motion and I gave them a complex velocity-time graph and they had to replicate that motion (to scale!) in a stop motion video. They could use whatever object they want (ranging from my son’s old Rescue Heroes to Barbies that have barely survived Alg1’s Barbie Bungee to objects created in clay).

When we watch the videos, we can clearly see the CV motion, then stopping, then accelerating backwards, it’s a beautiful representation of physics.

Day 46

I have a few kids who zoom through the lessons, so I handed two of them an Arduino (it’s a Lilypad) and asked if they wanted to figure it out and get it to do something.

Each has taken on the challenge and are enjoying it. They’re in two different classes but happen to sit at the same computer. One emailed the tech department to get the drivers installed (thanks tech dept!), and they’re each coding this thing. So far, they got it to blink but it’s super exciting. The book will step them through some exercises and then there are lots of projects. Can’t wait to see what they end up doing with it.

Day 45

CSP has been coding away. They hardly know any commands but have been so creative in making their scenes. This snowman is adorable, and the student made the snowflake a function, so he could easily add more than one. Love it.

These light sabers are amazing because they glow:

She used the RGBA scheme, where the fourth channel is opacity to make them glow. So awesome.

Next up is learning loops and random numbers.