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Drop the (pet) bass

18 Mar

Because blogging about my students work is more fun than planning, here is a post dedicated to my students’ awesome work

I am currently taking a class about teaching culturally diverse and English language learning students. In the class our professor had us create tri-fold books to summarize a paper we read for HW. I decided to take this idea and have my students make a tri-fold in my physics class. The task was this…

Pick a topic about physics
Pick three equations in that topic
Make a table listing the names of the variables in the equation and their related units
Come up with your own problem which would be solved using the equation (1 problem for each equation)
Solve said problem showing all work, including substitution with units

Well, needless to say I had a blast reading the problems my students came up with. Granted some of them just used problems from the old HW assignments but some got incredibly creative. This is my favorite. I must have laughed for 10 minutes straight after reading this….

Skrillex drop the (pet) bass

Skrillex drop the (pet) bass

So many awesome things about this one. The empire state is just about 433 meters tall, the artwork is incredible and well the humor is just amazing. I need to assign more creative projects to these kids.

Here are a few more projects I enjoyed very much


Awesome artwork and incredibly thoughtful problems

And I happen to make a few appearances in some of the work….


Hmmm, losing glasses and getting hit by apples?!?!


Everyone knows I love my heels



My kids know me so well!! Of course we had a dance off haha

The fun never ends while being a teacher!

Fun with Electrostatics!

10 Mar

A couple of weeks ago I started the unit on electricity and magnetism in my physics classes. I was really nervous about teaching this unit more than all the others because, although we are all familiar with electricity, the phenomenons behind what makes electricity possible are invisible to the naked eye. In a way, electricity just seems like magic.

Part of the unit involves talking about electroscopes. An electroscope is a device that detects any kind of charge. When I say charge, I am referring to an object that has gained or lost electrons, because in order to become charged (positive or negative) electrons must be moved. The most common example that we are used to when it comes to gaining some electrons, is sliding our sock covered feet on a carpeted floor. The shock we feel after touching a metal door knob is electrons jumping from our bodies to the door knob and eventually to ground.

Here is a picture of a typical electroscope:


It is made of two metal leaves attached to a metal ball. These leaves are isolated from air currents, so that any movement is the result of electric charges and not random air fluctuations. If you touch an electroscope with a negatively-charged object, the electrons will flow down into the leaves, where they will accumulate on the leaf edges. This behavior is due to their repulsive nature, and the accumulation on the edges actually is how they are able to experience the least amount of repulsive force. The repulsive force experienced by the leaves will cause them to move apart. When the electroscope is grounded, the leaves will fall together again.

In class I used a balloon and my hair to move some electrons from my hair to the balloon. When I brought the balloon close to the top of the electroscope, the leaves at the bottom repelled. BAM…PHYSICS!

Since my students have been begging me for extra credit since the second day of school, I though this would be a great opportunity to stock up on supplies for my lab. You want extra credit in my class? You build something! So, I had m students make electroscopes for a HW pass or 5 points on any exam grade. I had about 15 students make electroscopes, and they all worked!


The collection of electroscopes on display under my smartboard in the front of the class






I am so incredibly proud of my students who made some awesome electrscopes. It’s obvious the all used the same two youtube videos but they did it!!! I will be using these for labs I do in future years of teaching physics! Saved myself and my school a ton of money on lab supplies while simultaneously enriching my students learning experience outside my classroom =)

I will update this post tomorrow with a video of the electroscope working!

[jwplayer mediaid=”2327″]


Student Work

19 Feb

I recently started teaching a college level AutoCAD class at my school as part of a College Now program. One of the first in class assignments I had students work on was to come up with a procedure they believed was necessary to make an iPhone beginning with concept to having the iPhone in my hand. I got some interesting work but there was definitely one that stood out.

iphone 5 process

I have  a feeling I am going to love teaching this class.



2 Feb

I recently went to the NYC transit museum and it was AWESOME. I absolutely LOVED it and will be going back very soon and quite often.

The adventure started with an awesome treat. I asked the guy selling the entrance tickets if there was a student discount to which he answered “no.” I then jokingly asked if there was a teacher discount, to which he chuckled and also answered “no.” As I went to pay for my ticket he said “Just go ahead, you made me laugh so it’s on me.” I couldn’t believe it! My awful sense of humor actually worked!!! Though I must say, at $7  a ticket, it’s a steal for what an amazing place it is.

All the old pictures of the beginnings of the construction of the tunnels were incredible. It was a bit spooky to see the black and white pictures of the construction workers in dark, dirty tunnels that are now the subway stations I ride through every day. After walking through the construction section of the exhibit, I ended up at the electricity section where I proceeded to spend about an hour getting ideas of how to teach electricity and magnetism to my class.

Electricity, the invisible force that moves over eight million New Yorkers a day - including me!

Electricity, the invisible force that moves over eight million New Yorkers a day – including me!

Got a brief demo of a homopolar motor demonstrating the Lorentz force. The way a a basic motor works is if you have an electric current flowing through a wire that happens to be in a magnetic field, it feels a force push on it. For a homopolar motor, if you have a straight piece of wire sitting in a magnetic field, the wire will feel a force pushing on it at right angles to both the wire and the magnetic field. The force the induces a torque around the axis of rotation which is seen when the magnets and nail rotate. I plan on making one of these when I teach magnetic fields to my class. SCIENCE!

Also got to take a sweet picture inside a NYC bus. Had to wait until all the little kids were done playing around until I got my turn, but it was well worth the wait. You can just see the excitement in my face!


NYC BUS DRIVER!!!! Watch out!!

Amy and Kristen in one of the first style subway cars

Amy and Kristen in one of the first style subway cars


Old subway map. Found my daily routes!

Old subway map. Found my daily routes!

Play on words. Etti-cat. My favorite subway ad on an old train

Play on words. Etti-cat. My favorite subway ad on an old train

This ad reminds me of the "if you see something, say smething" ads of today

This ad reminds me of the “if you see something, say smething” ads of today



Group Shot on in an old subway car

Group shot on in an old subway car. You can see how excited I was from the big cheesy smile on my face

Chuck Norris of Physics

16 Jan

Yesterday, after a frustrating day at school, I was venting with a fellow science teacher. My main frustrations come from the fact that I feel that many of my students do not realize the importance of their education and the time we spend together. I mean, I remember being a teenager and just wanting to have fun and socialize, but I always made sure it wasn’t at the expense of my grades.

In any case, I said something to my fellow teacher about feeling inadequate to teach physics after a day like that and she turned my quote into a meme. My exact quote was this:

Chuck Norris of physics


But seriously…I feel like most times if I work hard enough and set my mind towards it, I can do anything!! Right now, I feel the harder I try, the harder I fail. I need to figure out how teenagers get motivated to want to learn…I’m open to suggestions because my tough love and sarcasm are not working haha.

Favorite Teacher

14 Jan

Last week I administered the first part of the State Exam to my one and only Earth Science class. This part is called the practical component where students are required to complete three tasks in an allotted time of nine minutes each. The three tasks are as follows:

1) Draw the elliptical orbit of an asteroid that orbits the sun given the foci locations
2) Identify two types of rocks and one mineral
3) Find the epicenter of an earthquake given the distances of two cities and the arrival  time between P-wave and S-waves at a third city.

I spent the week drilling these three things in class before the practical. My students seemed somewhat confident after the fact and I am hoping they all did well. Upon collecting their exam answer booklets I saw the following:

Favorite Teacher

 Needless to say I teared up and my heart filled with warmth. It’s things like this that make all the late nights, early mornings, long commute, stressful days, work filled weekends totally worth it.

Smart girl problems

23 Dec

One of my fellow science teachers sent me the following picture a few days ago. Somehow I have no contradicting argument since all evidence I have gathered seems to prove the point made. See for yourself.


And on the topic of cats, here are the kitties that live with me!!





Physics Level

12 Dec

One of my students brought the following picture for me today:

Although he did not assemble the featured contraption, I am still proudly displaying it on my science corner board because it’s nice to know they think about physics when they lurk and troll on the internet. I love teaching and especially love teaching physics =)

physics level

Mi Casa

11 Dec

So I am teaching vector addition in preparation for finding vector components when solving projectile motion problems to my physics students. I am especially nervous about this topic because I teach freshman, which for the most part are concurrently taking algebra at the moment. That means they have never taken trig or heard of sine, cosine or tangent of an angle. Actually – they have never heard the term theta. Hence why I woke up from a nightmare not too long ago where I was teaching finding vector components and had bombed the whole lesson.

Needless to say I have started out very basic to make sure my kids follow with all the vector math. For HW the first night I had them draw a scaled diagram that showed the displacement from my house (Ms. Chabebe’s house) to Hillcrest High School given a certain magnitude and direction.

I found some of my student’s work quite entertaining.

Trailer Park

Fishing for brownie points


Massive upgrade from the trailer – suburban home, front yard with giant driveway, two car garage with a sweet car, and even a dog frolicking in the yard!

Lesson Learned: I need to start assigning more HW that will be entertaining to grade

The Gorilla Experiment

10 Dec

As I mentioned in a previous post, I started watching the Big Bang Theory and reward myself after a day of teaching and planning with an episode here and there.  I still don’t know how I didn’t get into this show sooner. The latest episode I watched pretty much summed up my feelings/frustrations as a physics teacher in a humorous way.

It’s a bit long at 9 minutes but worth the watch since I took the time to post it in a way that would not be blocked. The best part starts at the 2 minute mark.

[jwplayer mediaid=”2104″]

This interaction typically happens at least once a day. I have replaced Sheldon and Penny’s part with myself and a student.

Me: Where’s your notebook?
Student: Uuum, I don’t have one
Me: How are you going to take notes without a notebook?
Student: I have to take notes?
Me: How else are you going to study for the test?
Student: There’s going to be a test?
Me: Testsssssss