Wednesday, January 15, 2014

STEM Workforce

I went to STEM Workforce meeting in Indianapolis in April 2012 where a good number of decision makers spoke. The visuals from the presentations for these meetings that have been held throughout the country are posted at
This picture of the STEM pipeline can be found in one of the presentations. 
Check out the video at (This gives the business and national defense viewpoint of the need for students to do hard things and study STEM.)

NMSI was at the Indianapolis meeting. It was great meeting some of their leaders and learning about their expansion into Indiana. This is also where I first heard about SeaPerch, which our school participated in last year. Other great STEM initiatives my students and I have participated in this year are TARC, Team America Rocketry Challenge, and VEX Robotics.

Another interesting bit of STEM news: The President of Texas Instruments Education Technology division, Melendy Lovett, was recognized as one of the top 100 STEM women leaders.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

TI-84 with CBR - how to turn off Auto Scale

I was recently asked, "How do you turn off 'Auto Scale' on a TI-84?" So I made a video to explain this. It also helps answer the question "how do you connect a CBR to your computer so that it will display on the TI-84 SmartView emulator?"
 YouTube video link
You may have noticed when you plug in a CBR2 using the mini-USB it automatically launches EasyData app. You can then just press ‘soft key’ for “Start” and a graph of the data shows up in real-time. However, if you are not moving, the auto scale makes it look like a jagged graph. This may be confusing to students. “If I wasn’t moving, why does my graph look like I was.” They may not realize that the y scale is only over a few millimeters, and this shows the amount of precision that the motion detector is able to account for as it determines the distance sound reflects off of a surface. “Attend to precision” is an important mathematical practice.
Not all of the modes do this auto-scaling. Distance Match does not auto scale. 

The scale can be changed after the data is collected, but the following demonstrates how to make it so that this is not necessary. Good news: Once this has been done, the setting will not need to be changed again for that TI-84. Press “Setup” and choose “2: Time Graph…”

Choose “Adv” for the advanced settings. Then “Edit” to change the “Auto Scale After Collect” to “No.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

Magnetic Field Experiments

This video, at the 40 seconds mark shows the magnetic field of the earth.  It also shows the simulation of  impressive gravitational assist maneuvers of a spacecraft that is scheduled to launch in 2017.

I have had students use the Vernier magnetic field sensor and the rotary motion sensor to examine the Earth's magnetic field at their location. When magnetic field versus angle is graphed, the data is sinusoidal. Variations of this lab available in lab books can be previewed on Vernier's website.

You can see images of the Slinky lab, or magnetic field in a solenoid, at this blog post. We updated the instructions that you can preview on Vernier's website. They are written for the TI-Nspire's Vernier DataQuest on our class website: View Download.