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Honors Physics students explore specific heat capacity of water in their Thermodynamic unit.

A Bunsen burner is used in an attempt to explode a water balloon. Students quickly see that the balloon remains intact as heat is continually applied. Heat flows through the balloon into the water, and water absorbs an exceptional amount of thermal energy with a slow change in temperature. This is due to water's very high specific heat capacity: the amount of energy required to raise 1 kg of a substance 1 deg Celsius in temperature. Several minutes elapse as the water finally increases in temperature sufficiently for the balloon to start warming and then finally burst. Slow-motion shots of the explosion are fascinating as gravity pulls on the water while surface tension and electrical properties struggle to keep the water in a sphere.
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Today was our first day of our 3rd and 4th grade after school Coding Club for this semester. Students are learning to code a micro:bit with We are using "Pair Programming" to develop code that will bring their code to life in a fun way. Some of the projects they were building today were Flashing Hearts, Smiley Buttons, and Dice. My goal for this club is for students to have physical devices that they can learn to control and manipulate with code they build on their chromebooks.
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AP Physics C students measure Earth’s acceleration of gravity using a large pendulum in their last lab of the Mechanics part of the course.

Applying principles of Simple Harmonic Motion, students meaured the time of a complete pendulum cycle for different pendulum lengths each released 10 degrees from vertical. They then arranged data into a linear mathematical relationship, and the slope of that line was found using PASCO mathematical function software. The experimentally determined slope, when used in the derived mathematical relation between cycle period and pendulum length, is used to calculate Earth’s acceleration of gravity that is 9.81 m/s2. The students determined a value of 9.68 m/s2. Their result is within 1.3% of the true value, and a job well done!
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Honors Physics students presented Fall projects this week. Students were challenged to design and construct an apparatus that demonstrates chosen aspects of Newton's Laws of Motion. Included in each presentation was an explanation of the apparatus and the physical principles it demonstrated, along with free-body diagrams and equations that model the apparatus in action. They did a fine job working together and sharing in the exploration of physics.
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AP Physics C students tested the Equivalence Principle, a fundamental component of Einstein's general theory of relativity based on one of his initial thought experiments about weightlessness.

A bottle of water with holes is dropped. When the water in a bottle is at rest, gravity pulls the water out of the bottle and to the ground. When the bottle is dropped, it falls at the same rate that Earth's gravity pulls it and the water ceases to leak from the bottle, seemingly free of the effects of gravity. Einstein concluded that there must be a link between motion and gravity. Motion achieved at a sufficient rate seemed to accomplish the same effect of gravity. In the Equivalence Principle, an inertial mass measured in motion should be the same as a gravitational mass measured in a gravitational field. Einstein eventually found that link in his geometric view of the Universe as warps in space-time lead to gravitational attraction and motion of bodies along geodesic trajectories.

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This was shared by teacher Greg Zamarripa today!

Our AP Physics C students just solved their Moment of Inertia - Torque lab! Version 5.0 is attached. Each year our students tackle this challenge, and they all succeed while having fun!


AP Physics C students are challenged each year to drop two rolls of paper and have them hit the floor at the exact same moment. One roll drops in free fall while the other unravels. Both cases follow different sets of equations and physical principles, and students must derive an equation that unifies both processes. Application of energy conservation, Newton's Laws of Motion, and moment of inertia and torque guide students to the true solution, and slow-motion video confirms their results.
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Meteorology students learned how to use “green screen” technology. By using the Green Screen app on iPads, students can import images of weather maps and then record video that overlays the maps. The class will frequently use this technology to present meteorological information as our Oklahoma weather continues to vary widely.
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I appreciate Susan Bearden’s perspectives on digital citizenship, including her recommendation that we partner with parents and recognize them as the first role models their children have for digital device use. Through the Parent University events we offered for parents last year, I feel we have laid a good foundation for the conversations we need to have, and these should continue. Susan’s point in Chapter 6 that “we don’t have to have all the answers” to have good and important conversations with parents as well as students and teachers is key. Her encouragement to NOT limit these conversations to just middle and high school parents, but also include elementary and primary age parents, is also on target.

I know as a teacher, I want to continue growing with my students as I craft my own digital footprint online with social media and the websites I create. I want our students at Casady to learn how to build their own “healthy digital footprints.” The digital portfolios we are building with Seesaw and other tools now in the lower division can become important parts of that record.

What kinds of learning opportunities for and with parents do you think we should offer next year? I like Susan’s suggestion for parent coffees and maybe “roundtable discussions” where both parents and teachers can discuss what we are seeing and doing with digital tools both at home in the classroom. I don’t think we should limit our “Parent University” events to just outside speakers who present information. I think we need more chances to have face-to-face conversations with parents, and teacher participation in these events is very important.

As we make our Folio goals for the year and look at ways we can improve our professional practices as teachers, perhaps our focus on digital citizenship can encourage us to be more digitally connected? How can we encourage more teachers to use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and other tools to professionally grow and learn from other educators?

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Well, I just learned the importance of not composing in google plus, as I lost my entire post. A little bit wiser, a little bit more frustrated, I’ll give you my reconstructed version:

I’d like to begin my thoughts on chapters 4 and 5 of Bearden’s Digital Citizenship with something Wes wrote last week: “Learning digital citizenship requires practice and DOING”. I’m excited to have this opportunity to do some digital citizenship with you, and regret not taking greater advantage of this forum this summer.

As Bearden discusses policies for adults in chapter 4, she writes, “The best policies are flexible documents developed by people who understand how various social media platforms work and canvas identify the risks and benefits.” (30) That flexibility and the idea of a living document seems essential.

I was unable to find the New York City Department of Education social media policy that she mentions (a testament to how rapidly the web changes) on the NYC DOE site, but I found a PDF elsewhere and enjoyed the clear simple language it uses to discuss such a large, complicated subject: “employees should treat professional social media space and communication like a classroom” (

I also found the discussion of copyright and fair use very interesting. It’s probably my background teaching First Year Comp and working in a writing lab and knee-jerk tendency to say, “yes, of course you have to cite it!”, but it’s important for teachers to grok that proper citation means that you have the ability to use something beyond the classroom!
Remember, in the age of Google if you used anyone else’s words or work and didn’t properly attribute it to them, it is easily discoverable, and likely that someone will discover it

Bearden’s framing of use policy as about responsible, rather than just acceptable use, and her call to “involve your school community in writing these policies“ (32) reiterate that people are more likely to follow a policy and feel empowered if they have collaborated in making the policy and it is in language they understand.

My questions leaving chapter 4 are:
How/when can we find time to collectively modify and maintain our responsible use policy?
Should we do this? Are we just adding another thing we are responsible for?
What are the benefits?
How can using social media be a tool for teachers, staff, and students at Casady that positively contributes to our environment?

Active, thoughtful, and consistent application by adults will create the digital culture for the school.

Chapter 5 is filled with short anecdotes about schools that Bearden thinks have applied digital citizenship in interesting ways.
Reading this chapter, I was struck by the importance of remembering that not every assignment for class or every class needs to be “digital” or “social“.
Teaching college, I frequently had students use platforms like Tumblr, YouTube, WordPress, Drupal, and Twitter - sometimes, the results were spectacular: authors or public figures or (gasp!) other students would engage with student ideas in a generative, productive forum.
Other times, there was no intrinsic advantage to having students work be available to everyone in the entire world or even be on the web.
Even in threaded online discussions, it’s essential that they not just replace face-to-face interactions, but add a dimension that is both productive and not otherwise available.
By asking students to use digital media, especially social media, as part of an assignment, we are telling them that is an essential part of the assignment.
We must make sure that it is.

I enjoyed the idea of North Broward’s “Personal Branding and Digital Communication” requirement (39-40), and realized that I really have little idea how web-based tech and digital citizenship is incorporated into Casady’s educational model, and I’d really love to know (a cursory search of our website yielded information on what what programs and apps we teach, but not a lot of specifics outside the domain of “Computer” or “Computer Science”).

So as a discussion prompt for chapter 5, I’d like to hear our “case study“.
How do you incorporate social and collaborative digital tools into your curricula?
What has been generative?
What hasn’t?
What would you like to do going forward?

I am very thankful we are reading Susan Bearden’s short book on Digital Citizenship this summer. The topics and issues which fit under the “umbrella” of digital citizenship have a direct impact on our daily lives, as we seem to be using screens more and more to communicate and just live our lives.

Here are a few of the questions I jotted down in Susan’s book in the margins and cover as I read chapters 1-3. I’d love to hear your thoughts and perspectives on these topics.

How can we amplify the positive uses of screen technologies so those are not drowned out by the negative uses we hear about so much in the media?

Learning digital citizenship requires practice and DOING, not just talking. In some contexts we have a tendency to ban devices from student use rather than teach appropriate use. When are we (or can we) give our students real choices at school with technology tools and platforms so they can be empowered to make good choices independently?

To what extent do Casady teachers and administrators need to be connected educators themselves, to “guide students in being media literate citizens?”

Besides this “Casady Learns” Google+ Community, where else can we PRACTICE good digital citizenship together - as teachers and with our students?
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