Day 54: Lenses & Refraction Wrapup

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


“Before I turn the lasers on, what do you expect to happen to their paths as they pass through the glass lens?” Get a mental image…and…reveal. This, kids, is where we’re going with refraction.

What’s that sticky note in the upper right of the monitor? That screen is projected to the class and they are the due dates of three upcoming assignments.

In other news: apparently my next door neighbor surveyed his kids about class and one kid said he should “burn stuff like Ms. Hayes-Golding’s class” because the kid was highly jealous of our concave mirror play a few weeks ago.

Day 52: Homecoming

Friday, 24 October 2014

I’ve been trying to catch a good video of a pep rally wave so kids can calculate the wave speed and I lucked out today.

Homecoming is tonight and while I’m not excited at all about the heavily gendered traditions around homecoming King and Queen or the hyper-masculine football contest, I was excited about my chosen duty station at our homecoming festivities held during the day today: the cotton candy machine, which has the reputation of being the worst duty station a teacher can get. Little do they know. My logic: all the other stations involve discipline — keep the kids from leaving early, keep order at the cornhole game, maintain safety on the bouncy castle — whereas the cotton candy machine’s entire purpose is to deliver smiles to kids.

Day 50: Magic Trick

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I made a glass disappear today. Things I wish I had to make this a better trick: a small glass container without writing on it and more baby oil so I can use a larger beaker to submerge in.

What makes this great: ask your kids “why does the glass disappear in the baby oil?” Then dive into any pop culture invisibility you like: why they think Wonder Woman’s plane might be invisible, how Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak works, or some invisibility storyline I’ve not even considered.



Day 49: Pneumatics Board

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


We built a (working!) pneumatics system today at the robotics training class. The FRC pneumatics manual is the “textbook” for this weekly class. We had three students complete most of the building after about an hour of instruction on pneumatics basics. These are kids with very little building experience and I was amazed at how easily it all came together. This board will be on display in our robotics workshop to illustrate how pneumatic systems operate.

This day last year: Day 49: Ranking Task Warmup

Day 47: I Saw the Sign

Friday, 17 October 2014


We took a little camera obscura I made outside today. It was super easy to see the sun’s image on the back wall of the box. When we turned to less bright objects, however, they were tough to see. These girls, though, not only saw the sign but then broke into song.

This short activity is a great way to demonstrate how simply a pinhole camera forms images. I only wish our image was brighter. Maybe a larger pinhole would be helpful.

This day last year: Day 47: Ray Tracing

Day 46: Early Feedback > Late Feedback

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 1.39.59 PM

I’m loving the feedback. In anticipation of midterm progress reports, I asked students for feedback, of which I have a snippet above. Two main themes emerged:

  • Office hours (held daily 3-3:30pm at the end of our school day) are crowded, loud, and ineffective for my most serious students. It’s the party room, which is frustrating if you’re trying to ask me a question.
  • Students wish I showed more complex examples during the lesson so they feel more prepared to answer the classwork.

Next week, I’ll make some changes to address both issues.

This day last year: Day 46: Homecoming