Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Light Problem

I used to have a MySpace account.  I started my blog there.  But after I had a few too many technical difficulties, I moved the blog here.  I have since closed the MySpace account.  I hate to lose all of my blogs from that time, so from time to time I repost them here.  

This was originally posted March 26, 2007.  

I covered a physics class today. Kids who take physics tend to be fairly self-reliant, so I was more in babysit mode than anything else. Though, I did get one interesting question.

Two students were working on the assignment (book work). They started arguing about one of the problems. The girl called me over to mediate.

They were working on a light unit. The question had to do with a three-way light bulb, the power output, and the luminosity. The boy explained that their teacher had told them to do it this one way. He worked out the luminosity of each setting of the three-way bulb and matched it to what that problem was asking for.

The girl explained that she figured the problem out on her own. She calculated the power output that the problem asked for and matched it back to what they had been given.

So, who was right? They both were. They both got the same answer. Each of them just did it a different way.

I explained this. It took some time before I could convince the boy (and explain to him what the girl had done--he didn't understand). Finally the (excuse the expression) light bulb went off over his head. He got it.


  1. You can even help students in physics - I'm impressed!

    I love subbing classes like that for the same reason as you. The students are self-motivated and well-behaved.

    Hope you're enjoying your break!


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