Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Jan 27 and 29

Snow day January 28th.

Today in class we started on our digital stories on atomic energy. In brief, students need to create a short story (~2 minutes in length) on an aspect of atomic energy. You can download the rubric and an explanation of the project by clicking through to

We will be using photostory 3 software at school to complete our digital stories. This software is free to download from microsoft.

We also learned how to use our class wiki. We will be using this to gather our information, get organized, and then complete the project. You can see the wiki at

We could use additional computer microphones for this project--if anyone has any to spare, we would love to borrow them!


Mr. J

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Jan 23 and Jan 26

Today was silly hat day. We discussed Alpha and Beta Particles, and Gamma Rays. I wore a paper hat to illustrate the fact that Alpha particles are stopped by paper. I then wore an aluminum foil hat to show that Beta particles are stopped by thin sheets of metal or about a meter thickness of air. Finally I wore a cinder block hat to discuss Gamma Rays.

We also discussed the concept of half life and we performed the Headsium start up activity on page 79 of our textbook. If you missed this class you can do this activity on your own. All you need is 100 pennies.

Be sure to check my website, we will be starting our atomic energy project next week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Jan 22-23, the birth of atomic energy (and paranoia)

Today in class we started the final chapter of our interactions of matter book. We are now in the atomic age.

To start off we looked at the world in 1953, when atomic energy was brand new. We watched the civil defense film "Duck and Cover"

Then we watched film of an actual nuclear blast at

Following this we compared life in 1953 with life today, then we watched excerpts from the film A is for Atom which can be found here.

Finally we discussed our new project. We need to think of some aspect of atomic energy that might interest us--it can be fallout, use in war, cold war, reactors, use in medicine, etc. We will be creating digital stories that help tell the story that we wish to tell.

We'll be doing this in class--however all should start doing some research now--come into class with a good idea on what you want to work on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20th--Attack of the Killer Cabbages

What happened to the time?

Sorry, I was out on Thursday and Friday January 15th and 16th. On the 14th and on the 20th we completed the cabbage patch indicators lab on page 70 of our textbook. Period 5th-8th on the 20th watched the inauguration instead of the lab.

Monday, January 12, 2009

January 12-13 Acids and Bases

Today we started chapter three--note that we will not be in this chapter very long!

We reviewed the properties of ionic and covalent compounds and then discussed in depth the property of conductivity. We found that ionic solutions conducted electricity and many covalent compounds did not.

We then looked at Acids and Bases. We noted that acids produce H+ ions in water (also known as hydrogen or hydronium ions). Bases produced OH- ions or Hydroxyl ions. We then found that if you add an acid to a base you get a salt and water.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Jan 7th-8th, May we have your liver?

Today in class we completed the famous 'Liver Donor Lab'. In this lab we used an enzyme in chicken livers to decompose hydrogen peroxide. We looked at the effect of surface area on reaction speed by grinding up one portion of liver and comparing it with whole pieces. For the control we used a test tube filled with just Hydrogen Peroxide.

We found out that the ground up liver created a more vigorous reaction due to the greater surface area caused by the grinding up of the liver.

Remember, our test on chapter two is Friday, January 9th.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Jan 5th and 6th, Welcome to the new year!

Today in class we slipped back into our school routine after being away for 12+ days. Hopefully everyone had a good break and is ready to dig in to the schoolwork for these next few months.

Today we learned that our chapter three test will be this friday (January 9th) for all classes. Our homework due date has been moved up to Wed the 7th for the A day classes, Thur the 8th for the B day classes.

We received a study guide today--if you have lost it, head over to my website and check out the test and quizzes webpage for another copy of it.

In class we reviewed balancing chemical equations, the four clues that chemical reactions are occuring, and four different types of chemical reactions. We also went over the differences between chemical symbols, formulae and chemical equations and we talked again about the differences between exothermic and endothermic reactions.

Finally we started on section three. We demonstrated activation energy by dragging a match over a striker until it ignited, then we ignited some magnesium with a bunsen burner.

To end the class we looked at three factors that affect reaction rates: concentration of a solution, the starting temperature of a reaction and the surface area of the reactants. We cut a denture cleanser tablet in half, pulverized one half and then timed the amount of time required to dissolve the tablet and the powder in water. We then demonstrated the effect temperature had by dropping one tablet in room temperature water and another tablet in hot (almost boiling) water.