This week we finished out discussion of inertia and explored ideas behind statics and equilibrium.

I was impressed when I came in on Monday and found that Slytherin House hung a snake at the back of the room.  And one nice Slytherin 1st year (is that possible?) made some blueberry muffins.

This week we explored the ideas of net force, statics, equilibrium and normal force.We started by drawing free body diagrams of a hamster at rest on a table top.

From there we examined a hamster at rest on an inclined plane.

Thinking about an object at rest against a vertical surface we discussed a horizontal normal force on a bar of soap.

We finished by starting a brief experiment trying to measure both the mass and the weight of a set of mysterious objects.  Students measured weight using a variety of spring scales and force probes.  They measured mass using a traditional Greek balance!  A debate ensued as to why the balance was measuring mass and not weight.  Obviously gravity was involved.  In fact, this exact point was made in the Physics Teacher magazine last year criticizing this experiment as pure stupidity and misleading by a great physicist.  However, the one student pointed out that on Mars the balance would give the same reading, but the spring scale would give a different reading!

Another great use of LEGOS!

Next up, we are studying velocity.  Fortunately, we went bowling Monday after school so we were able to get some video footage of high speed bowling balls to analyze at Jillians.

In the news:

Laser Focus World has an interesting article on the future on LED Lightbulbs and how they could be healthy for us.  The idea, is that these new bulbs could change color based on whether you are falling asleep, waking up, or trying to be alert as possible.  They could actually help us regulate our daily life cycle.  Thanks to Judy Donnely for that tip.

NASA Wallops Island (Virginia) which has traditionally just launched Sounding Rockets out over the Atlantic is entering into Deep Space Launches and just sent a probe up and toward the moon which you read about on the AP.  There actually is a program where high school students can design projects to fly on Sounding Rockets shot out from Wallops Island.