Saturday, January 21, 2012

Blabbering Pine Marten

I just got back from iMATHination math/science/technology conference where I shared the exciting features of the TI-Nspire CX CAS and the TI-Nspire Navigator. It was quite an adventure getting to the conference at the Q Center in St. Charles, West of Chicago. While driving up there, 6-9 inches of snow came down. The last hour of the drive turned into 4 hours. I grateful to have made it there safely and in time to give my Friday nigh Math Bash presentation called "Hands-on Learning of Slope: Math and Science Connections with the TI-Nspire CX CAS, Navigator and the Vernier DataQuest Application."

From one of the sessions I attended I learned about a website called Blabberize.com. My second oldest daughter used it to do her science project. When making the mouth, the large green dot indicates how low the mouth will drop. It was hilarious fun to make. Enjoy the production.


Update: If we would have watched this video tutorial, it would have been even easier to make our first 'Blabber.' Exploring is nice, but trial and error can be time consuming. I also discovered an example of how this Web2.0 tool can be using in the mathematics classroom.
I wonder if this blabberizing animals can be considered an application of Genesis 1:28 - having dominion of living things that move on the earth.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TI-Nspire CX CAS Blabberized

The J-term class has a little TI-Nspire CX CAS mascot that can say a few words about itself. Enjoy the blabberized Nspire.

Monday, January 16, 2012

LEGO NASA TI Project Explore! J-term

videoThis year's J-term class added LEGO Mindstorms into the mix of STEM activities. This fit in perfectly with the NASA and TI-Nspire CX connections. Besides making NASA Spinoff videos as part of the Optimus Prime competition (my favorite NASA Spinoff video was done by my own children), they also were faced with several challenges, including

Beginning Challenges

q 1. Make a robot that moves at a constant positive velocity. Graph this. Find the velocity.

q 2. Design and program a robot to move with a constant negative velocity. Collect data of this motion and graph the data. Calculate the velocity.

q 3. Collect data for 10 trials of the LEGO robot moving at a constant speed. Is it the same speed for each trial? Does it lose power? What is the velocity for the first trial and for the last trial? Power is the rate at which energy is used or the rate work is done. Kinetic energy, the energy of motion, is ½ m v2 . Calculate the kinetic energy and the power for the 1st and last trial.

q 4. Design and program a LEGO robot to move with a constant velocity, then with a zero velocity, and finally a negative velocity. Collect the data. Graphically show that this challenge was accomplished. Find the velocity for each segment.

q Bonus. Program a LEGO robot to do a random TI-Nspire Vernier DataQuest Motion Match.

q Acceleration: Program a robot move with a smooth positive and negative acceleration. Graph it and calculate it. (See the video made by one of the teams.)

q Friday competition. Using only the constraint of time, do the calculation and use the software to program your LEGO robot travel a surprise distance.

Next Challenges -

q Construct a wind turbine that will turn freely when a fan blows on it. Use a photogate to calculate the angular speed.

q Elevator. Collect data similar to the beginning challenges, but for an elevator. See this YouTube video for what this looked like in action or this one with the LEGO NASA astronaut.


I was excited that, despite the mild winter, it snowed enough for the students to go outside and do an investigation in the snow. The blue line shows the data that was collected as they walked outside and begin collecting data. The red curve shows what happened when this student put the Temperature probe into a pile of snow. Enjoy the video of their data collection.


Wind turbine ... LEGO TI Inquiry

What makes a good shape for the blades of a wind turbine? How many blades are best? It was interesting to see some students first attempt with using LEGO to make a wind turbine. You can see example of 2, 3 and 4 blades. Early attempts failed because there was no tapering to the blade. A straight blade did not turn when a fan was turned on it.
Symmetry was also important. If it wasn't balanced, the turbine had difficulty experiencing enough torque to cause it to continue rotating. After having groups of students design their own wind turbines and testing them using the Vernier
Rotary sensor with the TI-Nspire we used the blades from our new LEGO 9688. The TI-Nspire Lab Cradle is needed in order to collect data with the Rotary Motion Sensor. (For more about he Lab Cradle see this entry.)
Student were asked to predict the number of blades to optimize the rotational speed. Here are the results of the Quick Poll from one class.



As you can see in the graph below, 6 blades were the slowest, then 2, and finally the magnitude of the 3 blades rotational speed was the greatest. The data from this experiment was gathered with a wind speed of around 5 m/s.

Update 3/5/2012: This number of blades hypothesis and experiment was done with several of my classes and at the T^3 International Conference. The results from the QuickPolls are interesting to see how the prediction between 2,3, and 6 blades are often evenly split. The data from the experiments is beautiful. For most wind speeds we've done, but not all, the results show that 3 blades result in the greatest angular velocity. The discussion about why this is also enjoyable: More blades will catch more wind, but they will have more mass.