Monthly Archives: July 2012

Holography Resources

This post is primarily for those teachers attending the Summer 2012 QuarkNet Workshop at Fermilab. However, other teachers interested in making holograms may find it useful; if you have questions, please contact me as you won’t have the experience of making your own hologram during the workshop.

Teachers at my school and, most recently, myself have learned how to make holograms in the classroom from Dr. Tung H. Jeong, a recipient of the Robert Millikan Medal from the American Association of Physics Teachers for his work in holography. After attending an AAPT workshop led by Dr. Jeong, I refined our techniques for making holograms and we started making transmission holograms in addition to reflection holograms.

When introducing holography to students, I start with a video from the How It’s Made TV show about holography.

I then introduce the holography and advise students how to select objects from which to make a hologram. The slides I use are below.

Holography Introduction

We order all of our supplies from Integraf, which is associated with Dr. Jeong. Integraf has several tutorials on their web site which are essential reading:

  • Simple Holography should be read first. It describes all of the basics of making reflection holograms with many aspects applicable to transmission holograms as well.
  • How to Make Transmission Holograms. I prefer to make transmission holograms as they have several advantages over reflection holograms. The only disadvantage is that they require laser light to view. However, given how affordable laser pointers (green are best) have become, this disadvantage is becoming less significant.
  • Instructions for JD-4 Processing Kit. I believe this PDF file is the most recent version of the instructions. Similar directions are on the website, but the timings in this document are slightly different.

Supplies

  • PFG-03M Holographic Plates (2.5″ x 2.5″, 30 plates, $105, Item #S3P-06330)
  • JD-4 Processing Kit ($17, Item #JD4)
  • Holography Diode Laser (650nm (red), 4mW, $36, Item #DL-4B)

A previous post on holography describes how I setup a station and has several pictures.

Summer Reading

One of my goals this summer was to do more reading. I return to school is 21 days; so, I decided to capture what I’ve read so far since I probably won’t read too much more in the next few weeks.

I always fall behind on my magazines during the school year. So, every summer I skim the backlog and make notes for articles to reference later if they are relevant to a topic in class or a project to build. Over the years, I’ve reduced the number of magazines I faithfully read (or at least skim) to the three from which I learn the most: Scientific American, MAKE, and The Physics Teacher.

The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

I’ll read anything Hawking writes. After all, A Brief History of Time is what sparked my interested in physics and cosmology back in high school. I found The Grand Design interesting, enjoyable, and useful in unexpected ways. While the idea of M-Theory is interesting, I found the description of models and model-dependent realism excellent. In fact, I’m going to start AP Physics B with several quotes from the book on this topic as students really struggle to reconcile reality and models (“What is an electron, really?” “Are virtual particles actually present?” “How can light be both a wave and a particle?”). I also found their description of Feynman’s “sum over histories” particularly clear, and I hope that helps me teach quantum effects better next year.

Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays by Stephen Hawking

Not having my fill of Hawking, I remembered this much older book that my brother had given to me. It was enjoyable to read Hawking’s essays that were written over a period of decades and reminded me of what an amazing period of time it has been, and continues to be, for the field of cosmology.

Physics for Future Presidents by Richard A. Muller

While I had read selected chapters from Physics for Future Presidents, I hadn’t read the entire book. This book is incredible in that it makes such an authentic connection between physics and the greatest technological, society, and political challenges that we have in a manner that is digestible by high school students. We are fortunate to have a classroom set and I hope we find more ways to utilize this book next year.

Publishing with iBooks Author by Nellie McKesson and Adam Witwer

I downloaded this book for free from O’Reilly. I wanted a quick read to familiarize myself with iBooks Author as I was writing my AP Physics B review iBook. If you are familiar with the iWork apps, you can figure out iBooks Author, but this ebook sped me through a few of the the app’s rough edges.

Learning Java by Patrick Niemeyer and Jonathan Knudsen

I will be teaching AP Computer Science for the first time this fall. I haven’t written anything in Java in a very long time. Whenever I need to learn a technology quickly, I turn to O’Reilly. I admit that I only read the first twelve chapters. However, this book was perfect for refreshing my memory, filling in the missing pieces, and updating me on what has transpired over the past fifteen years.

Five Easy Lessons by Randall D. Knight

Dr. Knight was kind enough to send me a free copy of his book after a Global Physics Department meeting where he spoke. I started reading it shortly after receiving it, but it remained on the bedside table unopened as the semester became more hectic. There is so much wisdom and practical advice within its pages. I’ve made a note to remind myself when planning each unit next year to reference the appropriate chapter in Five Easy Lessons to see how I can improve my pedagogy. I still have a few more chapters to read before school starts.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

While all of the above books were enjoyable to read, occasionally it is good to read something not directly related to science or technology. I had received Sedaris’ latest book as a gift. It is uniquely Sedaris and a wonderful read.

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe

This book isn’t released until October 9th, but I’ve read some great reviews already. I hope to make time to read it during the fall semester. Sean and I grew up reading comic books together and I can’t wait to see what he has written!

What have you read worth sharing this summer? Let me know!

AP Physics B Assessments

As I’ve mentioned, I’m spending some time this summer preparing for the AP Physics B course that we will be teaching for the first time this fall. I recently finished creating the assessments for this course.

With one exception (fluids multiple choice), all questions are from previous AP Physics B exams. Thanks to the handy indexes available from Secure PGP, it was relatively easy to review relevant questions and problems and choose those I wanted.

While compiling the assessments, I refined the granularity of the units a bit.

Fall Semester

  • Special Relativity
  • Kinematics
  • Statics and Dynamics
  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Work, Energy, Power
  • Thermodynamics
  • Linear Momentum
  • Oscillations, Gravity, Waves
  • Capstone Project

Spring Semester

  • Electrostatics
  • Electric Circuits
  • Magnetic Fields and Electromagnetism
  • Geometric Optics
  • Physical Optics
  • Particle Physics
  • Atomic Physics and Quantum Effects
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Cosmology

For each unit, I compiled a quiz that contains representative free response problems to be used as a formative assessment. I then created an end-of-unit exam consisting of multiple choice and free response questions. The exam is intended to be completed in a 50-minute class period or less. To support the flavor of standards-based grading that I’m using in this class, I also created a reassessment consisting of multiple choice and free response questions. Scoring rubrics for all free response questions have also been compiled for each assessment.

I uploaded the assessments as an archive for each semester to Secure PGP. I included the original Pages documents as well as versions exported as PDFs and Word files. I hope that some of you find these helpful. Please let me know if you find any mistakes.