Day 59: Finding a Lens in a Haystack

Friday, 4 November 2016


Last time the kids were here, they figured out the focal length of their given lens. But I was mean and made them dump all the lenses back in one box, no sorting. So today, they had to work together to find their original lenses. We started by writing what we were looking for on the board. I can’t say they collaborated as much as I would’ve liked but we did all have our lenses back within 10 minutes.


And apparently this class finally had a sunny day to go outside and try to set stuff on fire with lenses.


Day 57: Focal Lengths & Panic Attacks

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Several interesting happenings today. In physics, I told the kids I spilled my organized box of lenses and had no idea their focal lengths anymore. They needed to take a few measurements to tell me what they had.

But first, let’s go back to where we started class, with this warmup:

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Then I told them my sad story about the spilled lenses. They immediately knew how to get to work:


Before physics, we had a faculty meeting where counselors shared with us how to help kids having panic attacks (high frequency, relatively low actual danger) and suicidal ideation (the inverse). The presentation was super-useful.

Do you know how to recognize a panic attack? Someone is hyperventilating, talking about not being able to do or handle whatever’s currently happening, shaking, etc. You should sit them down, look them in the eye, and get them to focus on you. Assure them they’re safe. Distract them by asking them strategic questions meant to get them thinking about something else. One example given was “name the colors of Lucky Charms marshmallows.” wp-1478127309189.jpg

Finally, I spent my planning period on a super-fun Raspberry Pi project, my first with the Pi. It’s a proof-of-concept build for our JanTerm course called Making & DIY Culture. If I can build it in a reasonable time, then I figure it’s worth giving the kids.