High School Mathematics-Physics SMILE Meeting
04 November 2003
Notes Prepared by Porter Johnson

Larry Alofs [Kenwood HS,  Physics]        Why measure resistance?
set up the mini-camera system obtained recently from All Electronics Corporation [http://allelectronics.com/].  He hooked it directly into the projection system built into the classroom, and it worked perfectly. He focused it on the screen of a digital Volt-Ohm-Meter [VOM], which he set to measure resistance.  With all of us now able to see its readings, Larry  then went through several exercises to show why it is important to be able to measure resistance, as well as how to measure it.

What a great way to motivate student interest in electrical resistance! Thanks, Larry.

Karlene Joseph [Lane Tech  HS, physics]     New Pasco Track Accessories
Karlene obtained a new Pasco [http://www.pasco.com] Collision Dynamics Track [http://store.pasco.com/pascostore/showdetl.cfm?&DID=9&Product_ID=51512&Detail=1], as well as various accessories.  In particular, she showed us a Picket Fence Gate, used to obtain data with the ME-8930 Smart Timerhttp://store.pasco.com/pascostore/showdetl.cfm?&DID=9&Product_ID=51477&Detail=1, which nicely and accurately determines Time, Speed, Acceleration, and other quantities as well.  Using the same projection system as used by Larry Alofs,  she proceeded to test the reproducibility of the launcher and determined the time for the cart to travel about 20 cm, at about that distance from the launch point.  The times were recorded to be 0.9093 sec, 0.8497 sec, and 0.6181 sec, as an indication that the mechanical launch system is not completely reproducible.  We also observed that it took 1.3230 sec for the cart to travel a distance of about 50 cm .She then measured the speed of the cart using the picket fence, obtaining 44.4 cm/sec and 51.2 cm/sec for the two trials.

Karlene next set up the cart on a slight incline [standard blackboard eraser placed under one end of the track], released the cart from rest, and measured the speed of the cart:  6.4 cm/sec and 6.5 cm/sec after 40 cm, and 50.2 cm/sec and 50.5 cm/sec after 80 cm.  Then she measured the acceleration of the cart directly using the Smart Timer.  She obtained 12.4 cm/sec2, in rough agreement with expectations with a 1% grade. The cart was then given a push up the track from the other end -- accelerations of -22.4 cm/sec2 and -24.2 cm/sec2 were obtained. (Should the accelerations be the same? Why?)  This asymmetry between going left and right was an indication that the track was not level.  We did corresponding measurements on the level track, obtaining - 2.0 cm/sec2 and -8.1 cm/sec2, for the two cases. We concluded that some friction was present, and that the track was not perfectly level, the two effects being of comparable size.

Beautiful data and nicely phenomenological, Karlene!

"F" Lee Slick [Morgan Park HS, physics]       Mnemonics
reminded us of the use of mnemonics to simplify the memorization of details that are otherwise easily forgotten.  He gave us the following examples:

Mnemonic (spelling): My Nasty Editor Might Occasionally Not Interpret Commas
ROY G BIV  Spectrum: Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain
OIL RIG Oxidation is loss   Reduction is gain
MVEMJSUNP Planets: My very educated mother just served us
nine pizzas.
LEO the lion says GER    Lose Electrons: Oxidation .. Gain Electrons: Reduction
HOFBRINCL Diatomic Gases: I Bring Clay For Our New House
Operation Order Please excuse my dear aunt sally.  Parenthesis, exponent,
multiplication, division, addition, subtraction
Prefix order King Hector Doesn't Usually Drink Cold Milk:
Kilo-, Hecto- Deka- (units) deci- centi- milli-
Celsius Temperatures 30 is hot; 20 is nice; 10 is cold; 0 is ice.
CHICAGO Chicken in the car and the car won't go.
That's how you spell CHICAGO!
For more of the same see the websites Science Jokes 11. Mnemonics http://www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha/scijokes/11_4.html#subindexFinal Punch Lines by Gérard P Michon:  http://www.numericana.com/answer/humor.htm#mnemonics and The Natural History Mnemonics Page:  http://www.cyberbeach.net/~willows/mnemon.htm.  The following passage is excerpted from the last reference:
Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory and mother of the nine Muses can help students of nature to remember the many details of our complex world . Her namesake, mnemonics, comes from the Greek word 'mnemon' which means mindful.
Thanks for reminding us, Lee!

Gary Guzdziol  [Carol Rosenberg Specialty School, science]        Drum Implosion Video
showed us a video of the implosion of a 55 gallon drum, which was made at the SMILE summer picnic in Summer 1992. (Gary's father, Ed Guzdziol, did the experiment then.) Upon two separate occasions last semester [http://www.iit.edu/~smile/weekly/mp110403.html and http://www.iit.edu/~smile/weekly/mp111803.html], Gary heated a drum, but it did not implode, apparently because of minor leaks.  In the video the drum creaked and made noises just before the implosion, and the sounds continued after its collapse.  Why?

Gary stated that the drum was about 23 inches in diameter and 35 inches high.  Thus, the total area of the two bases is about 835 square inches, and the area of the lateral surface is about 2527 square inches, corresponding to a total area of 3358 square inches.  At a maximum pressure [inward] of 14.7 pounds per square inch, this corresponds to an total inward force of about 49,000 pounds. Wow!

Your video was dynamite, Gary! Thanks.

Monica Seelman [ST James Elementary School, science]        How much paper is there in a roll?
brought a wrapped cylindrical roll of paper about 1.36 meters in height.  The roll had an inner circumference of  11.6 cm, an outer circumference of 23.6 cm, corresponding to an average circumference of 17.6 cm.  The thickness of a stack of 25 sheets was measured to be 0.6 cm, corresponding 0.024 cm per sheet. Since the paper was 2.0 cm thick on the roll, Monica felt that there were about 83 sheets in the roll.  Thus, she estimated the roll to be 14.7 meters long --- and with a height of 1.36 meters, this corresponds to an area of 20 square metersLarry Alofs suggested an alternative method of estimating the amount of paper, by weighing a small piece of paper of known area, and then weighing the entire roll.  This might have been more accurate, in practice.  We could have done both, and then rolled the paper out to see how long it actually was.

Thanks for showing us the way, Monica!

John Scavo [Evergreen Park HS]        Batteries Revisited
showed us a model, remote-controlled airplane, which can be recharged in a few minutes with a docking port.  The Radio Controlled Air Hog Resistor is described as follows on the Amazon.com website:

"With a remote control that is simple to master, this two-speed airplane is perfect as a first radio-controlled toy. The Resistor takes off from its own computer-operated launch pad with a single press of the Launch button from the remote. A large toggle button moves the plane either left or right as the plane hits scale speeds of up to 400 mph and flies up to 300 feet away. For quick speed, a Thrust button on the remote gives it a 25-percent extra power boost, and for a smooth, even landing, a Land button brings the Resistor down safely. Except for a few hard plastic components that house the engine, this lightweight plane is made almost entirely of Styrofoam, which damages easily if it hits obstacles so it's best to practice flying in open, treeless areas. This toy requires six C batteries for the charger and one 9-volt battery for the plane itself and requires only a three-minute charge in the docking station before it's ready to fly."

John also showed us a remote control car [heavily battered through use!], which he had obtained for about $5. Thanks for letting us play with your toys, John!

We ran out of time before all the presentations were completed.  These presentations will  be scheduled first at our next meeting, 18 November 2003:

Notes taken by Porter Johnson