Showing posts from April, 2012

Liked and disliked laboratories

Laboratories are at the core of the SC 130 Physical Science. While in-class tests and quizzes provide information on academic achievement, how the students react affectively to these laboratories is also important in the course design.

The course is not listed as a requirement by any major at the college, thus the course most frequently serves students taking the course to satisfy their general education science with laboratory requirement. The students are not planning a career in science and likely contain a larger percentage of students for whom science is not attractive as a subject of study. A goal of mine is to open up the thinking of the students. My best hope is that through the course the students will come to have an interest in science, see that even simple topics can be interesting, and gain an appreciation of how science is done.

As an affective learning domain study, students were asked to choose their favorite laboratory and provide comments on why that laboratory was t…

Site swap laboratory

Laboratory fifteen in physical science sought to push the boundaries on the mathematical box for the students. In laboratory one a quote from Freeman Dyson was used to start a journey through the mathematical models that explain physical systems. Dyson calculated how an electron ought to behave. Later someone went into a laboratory and the electron behaved as predicted by the mathematical model.

Gladleen juggling
Inlaboratory twoa linear model predicted the location of a rolling ball. In laboratory threea falling ball obeyed a quadratic mathematical relationship. The behavior of amarble rolling off of a banana leafobeyed a square root relationship. And inlaboratory fourthe marbles knew what to do in order to mathematically conserve momentum.Sound, therelative depth of an image, andOhm's lawall exhibited linear relationships.


There are other mathematical relationships that govern physical systems. There are systems that are modeled by exponential and logarithmic functions.…

Ball bounce laboratory

Laboratory 14 is a open exploration of a bouncing ball. This laboratory is effectively a practical examination laboratory. In this laboratory I intentionally provide considerably less guidance on the specifics of the chart type and analysis.

Seylyn has released the ball from 100 cm while Marie holds the meter stick.

The laboratory explores the question: "If the ball is always dropped from 100 cm, is there a mathematical relationship between the bounce number and the bounce height for that bounce?"

The data table suggests collecting data up to the tenth bounce. The balls tend to track sideways, often bouncing off the lab table. Using SC Johnson's Pledge reduces the coefficient of static friction and reduces the ability of the ball to gain sideways traction.

Jessica H. determines the bounce height.

Melinda's super ball is in flight as Roxann watches the meter stick.

Jessica S. and Maylanda's super ball caught mid-flight.

Joyceleen and Lotrynes

Iniki and Tracy with …

Clidemia hirta (riahpen rot) search and destroy

The SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany class went out on a search and destroy mission to find and pull riahpen rot (the dark curse), Clidemia hirta.

Renee Iva and Cindy working on a large clump of a plant that can take on bush, tree, and vine forms.

A large clump.

Renee Iva displays two young plants.

Floral litmus solutions

Physical Science SC 130laboratory thirteen collected flowers and boiled them to generate floral litmus solutions. Some flowers generate solutions that function both as red and blue litmus paper simultaneously - that is they change to two different colors when a base or acid is added to the floral litmus solution.

Maylanda, Roxann, and Melinda boil flowers to generate floral litmus solutions.

Above Iniki uses baking soda to determine whether her floral litmus solution changes color in the presence of a known base, Tracy observes. Baking soda is the known base.The students use a variety of local key limes as the known acid.

Chemistry is a quick run from proton and electrons, basics of atomic structure, hydrogen to oxygen, and then the structure of hydrogen and hydronium ions, providing an attempt at a segue into this laboratory. This material always reminds me that physical science is a bizarre course, an assembled beast that has way too much material in it.

Seylyn displays the color ch…

Founding Day Sports 2012

College of Micronesia-FSM Founding Day 2012 was an even year sporting event with five teams. The white team hosted by the Chuuk Student Organization, the green team hosted by the Kosrae student organization, the blue team hosted by Pohnpei student organization, the purple team hosted by Pohnpei Kolonia site, and the red team hosted by the Yap student organization.

The green team was led by the Vice President for Cooperative Research and Extension Jim Currie. The green team was the only team to offer their faculty and staff members founding day team shirts. At a school where communication remains an accreditation level challenge, the green team achieved an example setting level of communication. 
Pohnpei Kolonia site also communicates well and brought a strong sense of team spirit to the day. Their faculty and staff came color coordinated with their team.

Cindy Hairens takes first place in a morning heat. And heat is the correct word. The photograph captures the gorgeous tropical blue…

Electricity laboratory 12

Laboratory twelve in SC 130 Physical Science focused on the simplest of electrical circuits, electrical conductivity, and Ohm's law. 

Cuteleen has lit a single bulb using a wire, a 1.5 volt cell, and a flashlight bulb. This term only a couple of students reported having done this exercise, and both noted that they did not do this activity in class but rather at home playing with a flash light bulb.

For me this captures in a single anecdote the sad state of hands-on science education in the elementary and secondary schools. Term after term only two to three students will have had any encounter with this activity that is sometimes known as "batteries and bulbs." Yet this is an easy to do, basic introduction to electrical circuits.

The students invariably create a short circuit at some point, which leads to a really hot wire. This provides a good opportunity to cover the potential fire danger of short circuits.

This electrical laboratory also explores Ohm's law. Jessica…

Material Culture

SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany material culture presentations spring 2012.

Richard presented a Kosraean lohrengreng, a spinner toy for a child.

Giftleen presents a ngarangar, the traditional cup in which Pohnpeian sakau is served. Prior to becoming a ngarangar the cup is known as a poun dal. Once sakau is in the ngarangar the cup is referred to as a kohwa. A ngarangar is special and is not used for anything other than sakau. A ngarangar may be handed down through a family. The ngarangar unites a family around the sakau cup both in the present and across the generations, across time. Tremendous symbolism surrounds the ngarangar.

The coconut cup that receives the sakau has a number of names that may reflect municipal or situational differences. The cup can "name shift" during the course of a ceremony. Other names include kohwaleng (kowahloang), and koupahloang (Koaupahloang) (women's cup). [Words that may relate to the cup: Katehria, kowahleng, koahnpwud also called Delen sakau (Do…