Electron flow vs current flow? (Repost)

September 1, 2011

The geekgirl is going a little nutty over here, hence the silence on the posting front.  I’ve got a good excuse — I’m getting married in about 10 days.  So cut a girl some slack.  🙂  Fun facts — we’re getting married on 9/10/11 — which only happens 11 times in every 100 years, and […]

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Electricity makes flowers grow

February 2, 2010

Here’s a wonderful tidbit from a book that every physics teacher should have — The Flying Circus of Physics.  My old mentor PD gave it to me with the inscription, “until I write my book of physics stories, this is the best collection of science stories in print.”  As much as I love Paul, I […]

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Can a vacuum become a conductor? OR The physics of electron flow

June 11, 2009

Here was an interesting discussion on a science teacher’s listserv, which came down to the question — can a vacuum become a conductor?  What is it that we really need in order for charge to flow between two points?  What is the physics of electron flow?  The physics teacher in question wrote: The Paul Hewitt […]

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Electron flow vs. current flow

February 27, 2009

I just got this question from a teacher on Webconnect (which lets teachers ask science questions): “In the past when I taught electricity I always understood that it flows from the negative terminal to the positive.   The CPO books and materials have the opposite – from positive to negative.  This doesn’t make sense to me […]

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Make a stripped-down motor

August 22, 2008

I posted a new podcast – “Ooh you make my motor run” on my Science Teaching Tips podcast.  One of the Exploratorium staff educators, Modesto Tamez, tells how he gets students exploring electromagnets, a great preparation for making an electric motor. Here’s the Stripped Down Motor activity: www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/stripped_down_motor.html

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How do we teach our physics majors?

July 22, 2008

[[AAPT SESSION: TRANSFORMING UPPER-DIVISION E&M I]] This post is primarily for college physics teachers. Hey, if you’re ever presiding over a conference session, here’s a tip for you. If one of your presenters has technical issues, don’t give her a hard time after the talk is over, even in jest, about having gone over time. […]

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Electrifying Ideas

July 4, 2008

I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast – Electrifying Ideas. My old boss, Paul Doherty, is a great storyteller, and this is one of the stories of science that he uses to explain the history of science. The ancient Greeks knew about magnets, and they knew about electricity, too. But […]

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You’ll get a charge out of this…

February 8, 2008

This is a great little activity from Eric Muller’s While You’re Waiting for the Food to Come. Get a plastic drinking straw, in its wrapper. Unwrap one end, so the straw is still wrapped in the paper, and then slide the wrapper quickly up and down over the straw, until the straw and wrapper feel […]

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Maxwell’s Equations posters

December 26, 2007

I’ve created a couple posters of Maxwell’s Equations (differential and integral form) and you can buy them online at Zazzle, or just ask me to send you the electronic file and you can print them yourselves. Good for the junior level physics classroom. Here’s a link to the integral form poster and to the differential […]

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Electrostatics on the road

August 24, 2007

No post last week, as I was driving across the country from San Francisco to my new digs in Boulder CO. As I was camping in the middle of very very very dry Nevada, I noticed something a little cool. As any science teacher can tell you, any demonstration having to do with static electricity […]

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