Sunday, December 16, 2007

Grrr . . .

Commenting is messed up right now; shouldn't be moderated. This new template doesn't seem to like HaloScan. Of course, it could be an operator-based ID10T error.

Will try to fix sometime this week.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On extra credit

It’s at about this time during the semester that I regret having given any extra credit opportunities.


Most of my students are very grade-conscious and will willingly put effort toward an extra credit assignment in hopes of turning their B+ into an A-. Or their A into an A+.

But . . . right about now, it never fails that a few individuals seem to want me to just give them points so they can get the grade they want.

So why didn’t these same students take care of the issue earlier?

Access to PowerSchool gives students the ability to know their grade in any class at any time. It’s not as though students are ignorant of their standing in the course.

So why wait until the last two weeks of the semester to start asking for *more* extra credit opportunities?

An analysis of student grades shows that the daily work/quizzes are the lowest category in most students’ grades. The quizzes are based on the homework, so it seems that there are a couple of possibilities. One, the homework isn’t getting done. Two, the assignment isn’t understood.

If you’re not even attempting the homework, or giving up without seeking help from me, then there’s not much I can do to help you improve your grade.

When you don’t understand the topic, it’s imperative that you take responsibility and ask questions! If you’re not willing to raise your hand and ask, email me (cshepherdadams(at), or IM me at cshepherdadams .

There have been a number of opportunities already this semester for extra credit, mostly for attending FHSU-sponsored science presentations. There was the Chris Mooney presentation (Monday, October 15), a couple of astronomy programs (Thursday, October 4 & Tuesday, November 13), and the Christmas Science show at Sternberg Museum (Saturday, December 7). These options allowed you to get involved in science outside our classroom, to get another perspective of science and how it’s used in real life.

Likewise, each and every unit test you’ve had in this class has included problems or questions that were for “extra credit” – in other words, you weren’t penalized for not getting them right, and you were rewarded for correct responses.

Please note that these opportunities are available to each and every student. It's certainly not fair to ask your teacher to make a special option available just for you.

So, no, I won’t be making up extra worksheets for you to fill out, or puzzles for you to do, or assign book reports or any other such nonsense for “extra credit.”

If you take care of your grade throughout the semester, you’ll find that you don’t need any extra credit at the end.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


Does this scene look familiar?

Back on January 26, 2007, Lt. Governor Mark Parkinson visited Hays High School, and one of our Freshman Honors Physics classes was fortunate enough to meet him live and in person. He spoke briefly of his high-school-age son, and of his hopes that you'll be prepared to face the challenges of this world.

During your lifetime, I hope you get the chance to travel and meet many amazing people. Hays is the best place I can think of to raise a family . . . so get out in the world, explore, then come back and help make our community even better!

Link to Mark Parkinson's Road Journal.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Checks Lab

You were each given a set of cancelled checks, and you pulled out a few at a time to try to figure out what was happening in the life of the person(s) writing the checks. As you looked at more checks, you revised your explanation.

Now, you're ready to post your explanation. Please do so in the comments here, and include the name of each person in your group.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Welcome Back!

Just a few short days . . .

Until the techs in the ICU CCU can get the right software loaded onto my laptop, this page will be your source of information for the class.

Seniors - Advanced Physics - M1:

Wed 8/22
  • Why take this class??
  • Safety issues & video
  • Begin "Nature of Science" iMovie project
Fri 8/24
  • Safety Test
  • Math diagnostic test
  • Finish "Nature of Science" iMovie project
Tu 8/28
  • Present "Nature of Science" project - BEGINNING of period
  • Start Chapter 1 in text
Honors Freshmen - G3, M4

Tu/W 8/22,23

Th/F 8/24,25
  • *Turn in your signed syllabus at the beginning of the period*
  • Accuracy v Precision demo
  • Lab: Graphing in Excel I, or How To Run Circles Around Your Teacher
  • Ban DHMO?

M/Tu 8/27,28
  • The Nature of Science & The Way Science Works
  • Checks Lab
  • Read pp. 4 - 19; Complete p.11, q.2-8; p. 19, q.1-7

Freshman Physics G4
TBA . . .

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The other questions . . .

Okay, admit it, you have non-science questions to ask of le jeune Francais (the young French).

Please submit two original questions in the comments below that you'd like to have answered by your jeune compagnons de Francais* from the Lycee Bernard Palissy d'Agen next Friday.
These questions need NOT be scientific, but they should be civil; culture, music, customs, daily life . . . they're fair game!

Part of the reason these students want to interact with you is to practice their English-speaking skills. On Tuesday morning, I'll get your questions to them so they have time to translate the question and formulate an answer in English for Friday.

As always, please submit using only your first name and last initial for safety's sake.

*This is supposed to mean, "young French counterparts."

Questions for the scientist

You've watched "An Inconvenient Truth."

A NASA consultant has visited with you about aerosols, clouds and their formation, and how NASA and the French space agency - CNES - have satellites in orbit to take measurements that climatologists need to make long-term climate predictions.

Next Friday, twenty of you will be in direct conversation with 20 students in France who are your age from the Lycee Palissy d'Agen. You'll be joined (virtually, from Virginia) by the scientist who designed the satellite mission who is one of the top atmospheric scientists in the world.

Here's your chance! Undoubtedly, there are parts of the movie or the NASA consultant's presentation that you didn't understand. So . . . each of you should submit two original science questions here - in the comments - for the scientists to answer next Friday.

Bonne chance! (Good luck!)
Ce tâche à faire pour la fin de lundi, 7 May. (This assignment is due by the end of the class day on Monday, May 7. Or at least that's what it's supposed to mean.)