The November collision of local holidays as usual impinged on the curriculum this fall. I went ahead and showed an alternative energy video, Power Comes in Many Forms, on the Friday of the week before. Then a Monday holiday intervened. Wednesday I covered Ohm's law and the power relationship.

Board notes documenting the transition from a high head micro-hydro model to electricity.

Calculating the cost of power based on the local rate at present of $0.44 per kwH

Note taking 2018 style. Thursday's laboratory featured batteries and bulbs, conductors, insulators, and Ohm's law.

Michsane tests conductors and insulators. As usual, the men tended to take hold of the equipment first - in both sections. In both instances I halted the class to note this and to once again cover this issue and the importance of awareness of this for those headed into education. Men will tend to be first to explore equipment, which over the years leads to differential ability with equipment in the scie…

Fruit salad and fruit types

This term fruit morphology fell on a Tuesday behind a three day weekend, a Tuesday which was the first class in a week due to a different holiday on the prior Thursday. I knew most students would forget to bring a fruit and that absenteeism would be high. Both predictions held, with some students bringing no fruit, one digging a betelnut out of their pocket (ruled inedible because if you actually eat the nut stomach acid destroys the active ingredient arecoline).

Core purchases
A workshop in the morning and the irregularity of fruit in the markets and stores meant falling back on something fairly easy - low hanging fruit. Although clearly suboptimal, curriculum is sometimes driven by what one has at hand, not what one wants to have. Perhaps part of the thrill of teaching is having a half-unbaked idea and then taking into a classroom to see if learning will be engendered. The best plan cannot predict actual impact.

Plus a can opener, a mixing bowl, and ladle
With seventeen students I s…

Invasive species walk and talk

The SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany class walk and talk about invasive species focused on field identification of some of the more common invasives. A handout provided a guide to some of the plants that would be visited during the hike.

The first stop was a patch of Ischaemum polystachyum across from the classroom that included Sphagneticola trilobata (yellow flower) and Stachytarpheta jamaicensis (purple flower). The area also featured Commelina diffusa.

Sphagneticola trilobata

Acacia auriculiformis was brought in as a forestry tree and now spreads wild. 
Falcataria moluccana was also brought in and has spread aggressively, however Falcataria moluccana is valuable as firewood and prevents pressure on local trees as sources of firewood. The tree is also a nitrogen fixer and Piper methysticum, which prefers light shade, grows vigorously under Falcataria moluccana.

Clidemia hirta is perhaps the most aggressive invasive to arrive and is a shade tolerant invasive. Clidemia hirta arrived perhaps ten …

Floral morphology

Floral morphology this term did not begin with a sequence of videos on flower structures and functions as YouTube would not load despite a ten minute attempt to load the playlist prior to class. As a back-up plan a floral structures handout had been prepared modeled on the vegetative morphology handout. The return to a walk and talk format provides an opportunity to also continue to prepare the students for the final examination.  Despite Pohnpei being in the grips of a week of sunny, rainless weather, a small patch of heat rain dropped on the class at the start. Magic happens in ethnobotany.

The class began with Volkameria inermis, a plant with clearly visible structures and an inflorescence that is essentially an umble.

The class used magnifying glasses to examine Premna obtusifolia, Ocimum tenuiflorum, and Scaevola taccada, all growing together near the entrance to the college. For each I described the floral structures.

Magnifying glasses are an endless source of entertainment. Ad…

Color and Optics

Week ten in physical science focuses on color and the electromagnetic spectrum. The week opens with an Austrian production, The Limits of Light. Wednesday was a holiday, leading to omission of the class day with the CD spectrograph boxes. Thursday opened with a short selection of videos focused on the nature of color and color perception before launching into using HTML to control the RGB colors of light. Friday was used for student's to present their favorite color and what that color means to them.

Week eleven then segues into optics. The Monday opening video remains Bill Nye's Light and Optics video. As with any of the Nye videos, the video bounces back and forth among the concepts in a fashion that is not always coherent. While the Limits of Light has proven a far more coherent and comprehensive approach to color and the spectrum than Nye's Light and Color program, no solid replacement has yet been found for Light and Optics. There are many videos out there, but they a…

Items of material culture

Keanu explained the traditional, family, and personal meanings of his tattoo.

Michsane and Venister showed the difference between the Pohnpeian kiam (kuom in Kosraean) and the Kosraean fohtoh used for carrying traditional foods.

Both are made from coconut fronds, yet the designs are vastly different. The kiam is used to hold yam, breadfruit, and pig. The fohtoh is used for hard taro, coconuts, and fish.

Via-Marie brought in a koapoanok en Pohnpei/Kitti.

 This Kosraean dok is actually made of basalt, but some are made of hard wood.

Arlynn presented the tok.

Justin brought in a Mwoakillese pandanus mat called a rohp that was made on Mwoakilloa.

Tulpe Suselyn brought in a model of a Kosraean tok and tohp for fahfah. The word tohp may derive from the English word "tub" and is thus somewhat puzzling. Fahfah is, as far as I am aware, a pre-contact food in Kosraean culture. One might expect the material cultural objects that accompany the production to be pre-contact words.

Tulpe …