High School Mathematics-Physics SMILE Meeting
23 January 2001
Notes Prepared by Porter Johnson

Bill Colson (Morgan Park HS)

Frana Allen (K-8 Special Education, Skinner School)
presented a set of experiments, from the following sources:

  1. #648: Easy Chemistry (Grades 4-8), published by Teacher Created Materials, Inc. and available for $11.95 at The Teachers Store: http://www.theteacherstore.net.
  2. Kitchen Chemistry, published by Carson-Dellosa Publications and available from http://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-chemistry-Step-step-science/dp/B0006PEB5O.
Here is a list of titles of the experiments:
  1. Pile It Higher [Ref I, p 37]. Illustrate surface tension with droplets of water and vegetable oil.
  2. Blow It Up [Ref I, p 44]. Illustrate chemical change with soda, vinegar, a bottle, and a balloon.
  3. Just the Facts [Ref I, p 56] Chemicals are everywhere.
  4. Human Body [Ref I, p 57] Illustrate inhaling and exhaling with balloons and water.
  5. Art [Ref I, p 75] Separation of a solution of several different food colorings with a paper towel.
  6. Music [Ref I, p. 76]  Vibrating bottles partially filled with water produce musical sounds.
  7. Chemical Reactions [Ref II p 4] Baking soda and vinegar in a cup
  8. Separating Solutions [Ref II p 6]  How can you separate a solution of salt and water?
  9. Making a Fizzler [Ref II p 7] Mixing Alka-Seltzer™ and water.
  10. Mixing Water, Oil, and Vinegar [Ref II p 11] What happens when you mix them?
  11. Making Paste [Ref II p 16] Mix water and corn starch in clear plastic cups.
  12. Making Spaghetti Dance [Ref II p 20] Mix raw spaghetti with vinegar and baking soda.
  13. Mystery Powders [Ref II p 31] Use flour, vinegar, corn starch, baking soda, and confectioner's sugar.
  14. Mixing Your Own Colors [Ref II p 33] Mix red, yellow, and blue food coloring with water in various proportions.

Finally, she presented materials on magnets, from the source FS-83129: Physical Sciences.

Fred Schaal (Lane Tech HS)
announced having difficulty seeing the partial eclipse of the sun on Christmas Day---whereas others had some success with a "pinhole box camera".  Fred then posed the question:  Can you tell the difference in a penny and a dime from its sound as it bounces on the table?  Adopting the "experimental approach", we found out the following things:

Fred also brought in some Mexican coins that "bounce with a ring".

Ann Brandon (Joliet West HS)
announced a special presentation in celebration of Black History MonthBenedictine University, in association with NICOR™, presents Dr Mae Jemison. Dr Jemison, a Morgan Park High School graduate who studied physics from SMILE staff member Roy Coleman, blasted into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.  With this historic flight, she became the first woman of color to fly into space.  This meeting will be held in the Dan & Ada Rice Center, 5700 College Road, Lisle Illinois, 4:00 - 8:45 pm on 28 February 2001.  For more information please call Colleen Hanna at (630) 829-6076.

Arlyn VanEk (Illiana Christian HS)
mentioned that ESPN Cable Network broadcasts the series SportsFigures  [commercial-free Cable in the Classroom Programs] on ESPN2 on Monday mornings at 5:30 am [EST]!.  SportsFigures is aimed at teaching math and physics concepts through practical applications in sports, utilizing appearances by both amateur and professional athletes who help illustrate the different math or physics concepts.  Details may be found on the website http://sportsfigures.espn.com/..Here are the titles of the 14 lessons:

  1. Newton's EarthQuake:  Newton's 3 laws of motion
  2. Golf is a Drag:  Aerodynamic drag, Magnus effect
  3. Inline Inertia:  Weight, mass, inertia 
  4. The Trig to Soccer:  Angle measurement, right-triangle trigonometry
  5. Elastic Racquet:  Elastic Energy
  6. The Sounds of Summer:  Velocity, speed of sound, speed of light
  7. Breaking Energy:  Energy, Joules of Energy
  8. Bouncing Basketballs:  Coefficient of rebound, conservation of energy
  9. That Mu You Do:  Friction
  10. Running with Momentum:  Conversion of momentum, vectors
  11. Big Air Rules:  Projectile motion, gravity
  12. Relaxing with Impulse:  Impulse, momentum, Newton's second law
  13. Boarding School:  Conservation of energy
  14. Tracking Speed:  Speed and Acceleration

He showed a video of lesson #11, which posed the question:  How long does Vince Carter stay in the air?  Guesses from observers ranged from 4 to 40 seconds, but a count of the video frames showed that his "flight time" was less than one second.  Also, if you stay in the air twice as long, your center of mass moves four times as high!  

Roy Coleman (Morgan Park HS)
expressed concern that some of the questions on the recent Case Examination given in CPS physics classes seemed to be ambiguously stated.  He will bring up this point at a physics coordinators meeting as the representative of his school.  It is crucial that the exam problems be worded properly so that there is no ambiguity in their statement and solution.

Announcement by Porter Johnson (Professor of Physics, IIT)
Jim Nelson, Curriculum Specialist for K-12 Science, Seminole County Public Schools [Orlando Area], 400 East Lake Mary Boulevard, Sanford FL 32773-7127  [e-mail mailto:nelsonjh@ix.netcom.com] has sent the following memo:

If you know of a teacher you would like to encourage to apply to become a PRTA [Physics Teaching Resource Agent], you can tell him/her that the application for 2001 is now on the AAPT [American Association of Physics Teachers] web page, http://www.aapt.org/.  The application can be found from that web page, and selecting the category "Programs" on the left column, followed by selection of PRTA.  

See you next time!

Notes taken by Lee Slick and Porter Johnson.