Showing posts from November, 2018

Mathematical models, flying disks, and flying rings

On the board I first covered the horizontal distance for an object launched from a height h as a function of the horizontal velocity vx. Then I briefly covered the horizontal distance for an object launched at an angle theta and noted how this was a different mathematical model. This term I remembered to bring a hat and sunglasses, I also looked up the information that the soccer field was unbearable in the morning humidity.

Stacey, Merenda, Jerome, Michsane
The morning class borrowed a small patch of shade on the lawns

Salvin, Frankie, Dori-Ann
I ran the tape out to the west-northwest to provide a clean shot. I again used the tape to provide a way of determining the distance flown.

In the morning I used swerve balls (orange) and various disks. The G2 air proved to be a stealth disk: the radar could not pick up a reflection from that disk. Also needed is paper towel to wipe the tape on reel in. I brought a GPS in the event that a disk went long, but only the golf disks (used at 11:00)…

Ethnobotanical garden patch clean-up

Photos from the clean-up of the ethnobotanical patch and the start of the review of plants for the final field examination.

Senna alata
Cymbopogon citratus
Epilette, Adelma
Arlynn, Tulpe Suselyn
Ixora casei variety
Pteris vittata
Brenda, Prileen

Floral litmus solutions

The week of chemistry began with a review of atomic structure which led into a highly abbreviated introduction to bonding and molecules.

Monday began with an introduction to the periodic table and a fast slide into electron orbitals.

Wednesday then focused on orbital filling and the connection to bonding, to chemistry.

Jerome works out whether his flower can detect both an acid and a base
This term I reversed the table order so that the whiteboard, read from left to right, matched the table activity. This worked well.

Dori-Ann makes notes on color changes for her flower.

The floral bleach turned out to be buffered in some way such that the bleach was not basic. That was a fail and will need to be replaced.

Pine Cleen [sic] was a new addition along with the clear Joy detergent (which is neutral). The cream of tartar ran out.
Merenda preps her flower
Franky and Merenda working on identifying unknowns

Board notes

The 11:00 section arrived sans flores. Most of the students used leftover fl…


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 …