Body mass index, soap density, rolling ball speeds

SC 130 Physical Science began with a introduction on Monday to the syllabus followed by a pre-assessment. I opted to do the pre-assessment day one as the course was full and would not have the churn that a partially filled course would see during the add/drop period. This summer I did not run the course learning expectations instrument.

Results on the mathematics pre-assessment were abysmal, so Tuesday began with coverage of the solutions. Then I introduced the metric system, having the students guess their height in meters. I had estimates from one to a hundred. I wrote these on the board and only then brought out the meter sticks. After this I asked the students to guess their mass in kilograms. Those too were written on the board. Then the students used a Tanita unit to mass themselves. These two numbers were used to calculate their body mass index and this led to introducing fundamental measurements and calculated or derived measurements. A hand-out with BMI information for Pacific Islanders was prepared based on a page in New Zealand.


The class wrapped with a blind 60 second count, student counts again on the board and homework to work on their age in seconds. This obviated the need for Sticks and Stones Lab 00, so no Tuesday lab was held.

Left board at 10:42 on Wednesday.

Right board at 10:42 on Wednesday

 Equipment for Wednesday morning.

Maria-Asunsion and Ursula


Right board including the density of metal cubes as calculated by the students during the morning lecture session.

 Some results of the Wednesday afternoon density of soap laboratory.

Thursday morning RipStik linear run. I moved the start down to the junction with the sidewalk on the west side of the south faculty building and used 300 cm segments out to 1500 cm.

Time zero, distance zero, chronograph start.

Thursday afternoon extension: what happens to the slope when the speed changes? Maria-Asuncion is on the one second mark.

Stephanie watches for the two second position.
 Nathan on the tape measure.

Friday wrapped up with a test.

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