From the classroom, to the Universe

Archive for August, 2012

Jupiter – August 20, 2012

I had again the chance of imaging Jupiter after that monstrous monsoon using Meade ETX 125 and Toucam. 244 frames were registered and stacked using Registax, contrast adjusments were done using Gimp, image acquisition via SharpCap.


Tracker in Teaching Physics

Tracker is an amazing program for physics. It is designed to analyze motion and do modeling from from video clips. It can be used in a bunch of topics in mechanics and the best thing about this program  is – its free.

One of the things you can use tracker is in teaching projectiles. Students can easily see how an object behaves as it moves through the air in the x and y component.

1.  Using a camera, (or a phone cam) ask them to record  the motion of the ball tossed on air, like this:

2.  Load the video on Tracker, create a point mass (the object that we need to investigate), track its movement either manually (by shift + click each frame) or autotrack it.

3.  Let them investigate the data at the right side of the panel, ask them to look at the x and y velocity of the ball.

4. The students can then discover that an object thrown in the air experiences different motion in the x and y component.

With this program, you can also do authentic assessments by letting them find if  a video is faked or not.  Here are some things that you can use in your class or have your student try for themselves.

Master Hung of Ip Man:

Kobe Bryant Jumps over a Pool of Snakes:

Angry Birds

and a lot of other stuff that you can get from movies (even you tube vids like Dude Perfect) to analyze it with the program.   This could be another way ( better and a lot cooler) to test students (which are digital natives by the way)  aside from conventional quiz that we give.

Inquiry Approach on Free Fall, Hang time – Kobe Over a Car

In our discussion about the concepts of free fall, we ventured on real problem students never thought nothing like possible to analyze. It was inspired by modeling instruction from educational blogger  Frank Nosche . The instruction was basically anchored on the Karplus inquiry cycle.

Initially, I let them watch at Kobe’s viral ad about jumping over an aston martin for his Hyper dunk shoes. The video itself is enough to attract and spark a conversation as well as initial ideas on the authenticity of the video itself – whether a human given a jumping ability of Kobe can possibly do the stunt , of course explaining through laws of physics!

It was rather difficult at start but it was never the less very productive since it authenticated understanding (and discovering for themselves) real life problem solving. Given “googleable” facts like height, car dimensions they were able to deduce jump height and as well as the hangtime of Kobe, which was needed to compare the time of the car passing in front of the frame thereby, giving them the chance to calculate the  velocity of the car.

 (Kobe’s height served and the video’s “ruler”)

 (Based from his height, one can deduce his jump height)

Students response on the problems are great. Hope I could post them soon!