Showing posts from March, 2017


Suzanne and Nagsia
A day of passing heavy rains punctuated by brief sunny spells made the location decision complex. The trade wind season had gusty rain winds coming out of the east, but when the sun was out the east side provided shade from the afternoon sun. I opted for the east side, but the arrival of strong blowing rain made our location suboptimal.

Raw supplies: this term the class used oahs, Metroxylon amicarum and lirau, Phragmites karka.
Donovan, Kanoa, Austin, AJ
Some were more active than others. One of the challenges is providing the "needles" that students either prefer or are accustomed to. I have seen Kosraean women using pieces of wire from a broken umbrella. I have heard of the use of filed down and cut toothbrush handles. Alexander said that he has used plastic needles made from the red plastic handle of an ice cream bucket. These are flat which is a plus when making doakoahs. Alexander noted that Nypa fruticans used on Yap proper and is a tougher leaf th…

Google Drive Notepad and Schoology on ChromeOS

One of the advantages of an LMS such as Schoology is that one can utilize copy and paste to make comments on submitted assignments. On the limited real estate of a ChromeBook the Drive Notepad provides the ability to keep a series of different boilerplate responses that can be customized.

On the left is the Drive Notepad running in a theme called Cobalt, on the right Schoology with a submission. At the top of the notepad file are my unicode code points. The use of the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-shift-u allows direct entry of these under ChromeOS. Alternatively they can be copied from Drive Notepad which is itself unicode point friendly.

unicode points
u00b5 µ
u0305 x̅
u03b1 α
u2080 ₀
u2081 ₁
u2212 −
u2260 ≠

While Schoology makes possible direct commenting in the assignment, I usually opt to add comments on the right, attaching screenshots if appropriate to explaining a particular concept.

Although I also have the Caret text editor installed on the ChromeBook, Drive Notepad has the advanta…


An unusual morning and midday of extreme equatorial equinox sun made me set aside the Friday quiz and head outdoors to look for a mirage as a way to wrap up a week of refraction and reflection. Mirages are the refraction that looks like a reflection.

The road is not quite long enough and not quite dark enough to generate a larger mirage, but there is one just barely visible in the above image.

There is no water there. Just an illusion. A mirage.
The light from the sun bounces off the distance car. Some of the rays bounce down towards the road. The air directly above the road is heated by the asphalt to a higher temperature than the air further above the surface of the road. This leads to a lower density for the air in the few centimeter above the asphalt. The light bends, refracts upwards, back towards the higher density air further above the road, traveling upwards to our eye. The light never reflected off of the road, the light bent in an arc. The result is an image that our brain i…

Paired marble mass difference detection

Pairs of marbles were used to setup and demonstrate the use of the paired TTEST function. Each student was given two visually similar marbles. The students were asked to decide which marble was lighter, which marble was heavier.

Which is heavier?

In terms of in-class procedure, at 8:00 I wrote the marble masses on a pad of paper and then entered them into a G Suite spreadsheet. At 9:00 I set the scale next to the keyboard and had the students come up, putting the light one on first, the heavy one on second, and directly entered the values into the spreadsheet. This proved more efficient.

Though the marbles look the same, there is a weight difference. After 16 students in the 8:00 class the paired t-test p-value stood at 0.07, failure to reject the null hypothesis. The students could not detect the difference. Although not appropriate due to the failed t-test, the effect size was actually medium to large. I had hope that the 9:00 class would bring home a p-value under 0.05. 
With the t…

Material Culture

This term the material culture presentations were described to the class as a "show and tell" session, and were compressed into a single class session. The decision to compress the session is in part of reflection of the collapse of material cultural items in the lives of the students. Three students brought ngarangar, three brought kiam, and two brought local fans. Six students had nothing to present, I opted not to penalize them in consideration of the collapse of material culture. This collapse is real, some students have no realistic access to items of traditional material culture.  I had those with the same item present at the same time, further compressing the presentations. The result was a class session that wrapped in sixty minutes.

Suzanne shows a Kosraean pahl, termed irip in Pingelapese
Kanoa with a Pohnpeian ahk
Junida with a Pohnpeian pwaht
AJ with a Pingelapese dil: fishing torch
Austin, Donovan, and Regina present the Pohnpeian kiam
As one student noted, &quo…

Reflection and refraction lab with Desmos

Laboratory eleven investigates reflection and refraction. The reflection component of the laboratory investigates the relationship between the object distance and image distance for a plane mirror. The refraction component uses apparent depth to determine the index of refraction for water.

Vanessa, Moesha
Working as a team, a pair of students determines the apparent image location behind a mirror tile. This laboratory appears to have an odd twist. If the students expect that the distances are equal, they tend to wind up with measurements that support equal distances. The graph of the image distance versus the object distance has a slope of one.

Dorothy, Tedrick
If the students expect that the image distance is less than the object distance, then they appear to make measurements that support that expectation. In most terms the students predict equality of the distances and find support for that. Every few terms a student will first propose inequality prior to the laboratory and data wi…

Ohigan and the clean up of Haruki

Each week of March 21st and September 21st the SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany class cleans up the Japanese cemetery that served the community of Haruki.

Working up around the Alpinia carolinensis
On the college property is a Japanese village cemetery from the 1930s and 1940s. The following is an excerpt for Mark R. Peattie's Nan'yo: The rise and fall of the Japanese in Micronesia 1885 - 1945. An additional note is included from Riptide by Willard Price, 1937.

Sonya the 1930s the finest research work was being done at the Ponape station [Kolonia], largely through the efforts of one man, the distinguished agronomist Hoshino Shutaro, who came to the island in 1927 and set about making Ponape the center of Japanese agricultural research in Micronesia.

By the mid-1930s, moreover, Kolonia was not the only population center on Ponape. On the northwest coast, the government tried its hand at colonization when, in 1931, it established a settlement at Palikir, a small valley in the…