The Very Spring and Root

An engineer's adventures in education (and other musings).

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Students: Take Advantage of the BSO

IMG_20130115_193645If you’re a student in Boston and not taking advantage of the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s College Card program, you are missing out on  one of the best deals in town.

Here’s the deal: you pay $25 once to buy a College Card for the season. Once registered, at the beginning of every performance week you can check via web or automatic email/txt what shows still have tickets remaining. You then stop by the Box Office and pick up whatever tickets remain on a first-come, first-served basis.

The experience has been incredible. My seats have ranged from the nosebleeds to the balconies, and just this week all the way up to the 7th row in the orchestra section where I could even see the facial expressions and gestures of the musicians (and thus exacerbating my nerdcrush on Assistant Concertmaster Elita Kang).

The programs are detailed and interesting, giving me an insight into not only the music, but the composers and the nations, political structures, times, and cultures in which they lived. This season has been heavy on Russian music in particular — in the strains of Shostakovitch, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Rachmaninoff I’ve gotten a glimpse into the clash of cultural influences and political ideologies that have shaped Russian art from the Tsar through the Soviet era. In the classics by Haydn, Brahms, and Beethoven, I am reminded of the classical roots of western thought. And more personally unfamiliar composers like Sibelius have intrigued me with their struggle for individual and national identity (Finnish identity, in the case of Sibelius) — a struggle that makes me reflect on my own identity and history.

Especially given the stress of the BTR graduate program, as well as the heavy nature of the moral and social questions we are asked to face each day in the residency/practicum, the chance to lose myself in the beauty of music has been a wonderful (and I repeat, outrageously affordable) recharge for the mind and soul.

Fellow Bostonians: take advantage of this engine of beauty in our city.



Lesson Plan: Conservation of Energy using a Music Video

Lesson 2.2: Exploring Conservation of Energy

Unit: Work and Energy, Component 2 – Conservation of Energy
Date: January 10th, 2013
Day/Block: Day 1 –  A/E/F
Time Available: A 58min / E 48min / F 65min

Objective:
You will be able to design and analyze a Rube Goldberg Machine using the Law of Conservation of Energy.

Criteria for Success:
Can I design my own machine that transfers mechanical energy between objects through work?

Can I use the Law of Conservation of Energy to explain how my design transfers energy?

Assessment:
Handout with machine design and analysis questions.

Agenda:

[10 min] DoNow:

The complicated chain of events in the music video is called a “Rube Goldberg Machine”. These machines use many transfers of energy between a whole lot of objects in order to do a very simple task.

Invent your own small (2 objects) Rube Goldberg machine. How would you use one object to make another object do something else? Where is there work and energy? How does one object transfer energy to another?

Example:

[10 min] Discussion: Music Video

Show OK Go’s music video for “This Too Shall Pass”: (4 min)

Note: Watching the video was assigned as homework the previous night, along with the following guided questions: Where do you see work? Where do you see energy being transferred from one form to another? Write down at least 1 example (note the video time), and make sure to explain what object is doing work on what other object, what kind of energy is being transferred, and how you know.

Talk to a partner next to you and share 1 example of work and energy being transferred from one object to another. I will ask several students to share an observation that their partner noticed, and explain to me what object is having work done on it and what kinds of energy are involved.

Possible questions to ask:
What did you see? Be specific, tell me what happened to the object that makes you think there was work done. What kinds of energy do you think that the object has?  How do you know that the object has that kind of energy?

Record student observations on the whiteboard.

[15 min] In-Depth Analysis: Tire

Show video clip of the tire section twice (7 second clip starting at 1:03). Ask students to write down exactly what they see happening to the tire. Have students share their observations, and assemble a record of the tire’s journey on the board to refer to later.  (Make sure that the bucket hitting the tire is included.)  Hand out the worksheet for scaffolded analysis of the tire scenario.

Refer to your handout. Take 30 seconds to answer the first question by yourself. Ask one student to share what they wrote with the class.
1. At the beginning of the scenario, does the tire already have mechanical energy? If so, what form(s) is it in, and how do you know?

Take two minutes to answer questions 2 and 3 with a partner.  Ask one or two pairs to share, depending on time.
2. During the scenario, is work done on the tire by any other object?  Is this work positive or negative, and how do you know?
3. What happens to the tire’s total mechanical energy when the work is done to it?

Take four minutes to answer questions 4 and 5 with a partner. Ask one or two pairs to share, depending on time.
4. Describe what happens to the tire’s GPE, KE, and total ME as it goes through the scenario.
5.  What happens to the tire’s mechanical energy at the end of the scenario?

[15 min] Creative Activity: Design and Analyze

Turn over your handout. Now you have a chance to design your own Rube Goldberg machine! Draw your machine in the space provided, and use the Tire Analysis as a guide to answer the analysis questions below. The questions are due tomorrow for stamps. If you don’t finish in class, please complete the analysis questions as homework.

6. Draw your own piece of this Rube Goldberg Machine that uses 1 object. You must include at least 1 transfer of energy from one object to another.

7. What is your main object in this scenario? :

8. Describe what happens to your object’s GPE, KE, and total ME as it goes through the scenario beginning to end..

9. Where is work done on your object or by your object? How does this work change your object’s total mechanical energy?

10. Explain how your machine obeys the Law of Conservation of Energy, MEi + W = MEf.



I Cannot Bear Your Suffering”

Three colleagues (one of them my roommate) wrote this last week in the dining room over dinner. You know, like ya do.

“I Cannot Bear Your Suffering”
Malcolm Jamal King, Juliet Buesing, Janella Isaac.
Composed and recorded August 29th, 2012
(Boston, MA)




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