Cool resource for Physics and Chemistry

Monday, March 31st, 2014 | EMILY HALL | Comments Off on Cool resource for Physics and Chemistry

websiteI ran across this website a couple of years ago but for some reason didn’t use it at all.

On the site is a complete course in Chemistry and a complete course in Physics for high school level in Georgia, USA. They consist of a series of videos, one on each topic listed with note taking guides and study guides. The videos are only about half an hour long and come with a problem set based on the video.

I am going to trial one of these in class today and also show the girls the link in the hopes that they might use the videos at home for their own revision. I was thinking too it might be a good activity for them if I am away so they can still move forward with their learning even when I am not there. We have a set of netbooks they can use and watch the material on their own if the reliever doesn’t have a laptop to show the whole class at once.

Happy Birthday Alessandro Volta!

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 | EMILY HALL | No Comments

VoltaHappy Birthday Alessandro Volta!! Who the heck was he you ask?  Well, the clue is in the name. The unit for electric potential, electric potential difference and emf are all Volts which comes from Volta. Volta made the Voltaic pile which in an improved form is known today as the battery!! Watch this cool movie from some lads at MIT to find out more about how he made this discovery.

Alessandro Volta Video

Once you’ve seen the video, look online for some pictures of the modern battery which, on the inside, all look much the same as the voltaic pile.

Finally, You can make your own voltaic pile at home using some copper/zinc coins alternated with some paper towel soaked in vinegar or lemon juice. You will need to use non NZ coins or old coins though as the current 10 cent piece is copper and steel! Also give the coins a sand to expose the zinc insides to the weak acid. Attaching your pile of 7 or so coins to an LED should bring forth light!! Of course you can always go the other route and get yourself a handy potato clock – same principle!


Solar Landfills: The future?

Friday, May 25th, 2012 | STEPHEN BRONI | No Comments

An innovative  approach to alternative energy
Using landfills to generate solar power.
Mark Roberts of HDR Engineering is working on two of these solar landfill projects in Texas and Georgia.

Have a listen to the 7 min audio clip below from Radio NZ National’s ` This Way Up’ programme.  ( Scroll down to `Solar Landfill’)

 and check out the detail on this website

An Introduction to Practical Electronics: Resource

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 | STEPHEN BRONI | No Comments

Thanks to Lynne Newell from FutureIntech for this link 

An introduction to Practical Electronics, Microcontrollers and Software Design is a PDF book (800 pages+ and growing)  written by  Bill Collis from Mount Roskill Grammar School for students  who are starting out in electronics. It is based around the PCB CAD software Eagle, the ATMEL AVR microcontroller and the BASCOM-AVR cross compiler. It aims to help students use software like Eagle and Sketchup for their chosen projects, and how to write and plan successful code using statechart principles. There are many examples of block diagrams, circuits, layouts, flowcharts, statecharts and code in the book for many different interfaces and products.

`Optogenetics’: The Stuff of Science Fiction?

Thursday, July 7th, 2011 | STEPHEN BRONI | No Comments

When  I was  a wee lad back in Scotland  one of my favourite films  was  a movie called  `Fantastic Voyage’.
Based on an Issac Asimov novel it’s about a group of scientists who, along with their hi-tech sub are  miniaturised  and injected into the body of an emminent scientist. Their  mission:-  to  perform some very targeted brain surgery from within using lasers.
(The film is often most remembered by film reviewers for a  scene where our hero has to rip ‘giant’ (to them) `phagocytosing’ white blood cells from a wetsuit-clad Raquel Welsh.  At the time I was way too young to understand why `that scene’ was so appealing to grown-ups!   Especially when there were so many other cool scenes of them travelling  through the blood stream, lungs, inner ear and finally in the brain surrounded by  hanging  neurones!).
Anyway, when I read this article on `Optogenetics’ -a new technology that  potentially allows scientists to switch  individual neurones on and off by means of light –  the movie leapt into my mind and I  became intrigued to read on.

 It’s  a  facinatating concept  and another example of 21st century ingenuity from   the rapidly expanding world of nanotechnology.

Check it out here:-

or read full article here

P.S. For all the film buffs out there, a remake of ‘Fantastic Voyage’ in rumoured to be one of James Cameron’s latest projects.

Capacitor Charging-Discharging

Friday, July 1st, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

I’ve set up a virtual lab for you to investigate how a capacitor charges and discharges.

  1. Download this file : Capacitor
  2. Open the AC&DC circuit construction kit here
  3. Load the capacitor file. It will display a capacitor circuit.
  4. Add the voltage chart with the connections across the capacitor [red to the left, black to the right]
  5. Add the current chart with the connection beside the red V connector.
  6. The capacitor charges through the top loop [and switch]
  7. It discharges through the bottom loop.
  8. You can investigate the following
    1. Change the supply voltage Vs [initial 10V]
    2. Change the capacitance [initial 0.1F]
    3. Change the charge resistance [initial 10 ohm]
    4. Change the discharge resistance [initial 5 ohm]
  9. You could also use the built in stopwatch to investigate the time constant

LRC Circuit Simulator

Monday, May 30th, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

All singing and dancing LRC applet.

You can control all basic values L, R, C , V0 [peak V] &  f [omega].

The applet will display the voltage traces for resistor, inductor and capacitor, plus the current in the circuit. It also calculates the reactances and impedance [showing the vector sum as well] showing them as phasors for good measure.

All you need to know.


Monday, May 23rd, 2011 | KEV KNOWLES | No Comments

This achievement standard involves knowledge and understanding of phenomena, concepts, principles and/or relationships related to direct current (DC) circuits, capacitance, electromagnetic induction, alternating current (AC) circuits, and the use of appropriate methods to solve related problems.

DC Circuits and Capacitance

  • Internal resistance; simple application of Kirchhoff’s Laws
  • parallel plate capacitor; capacitance; dielectrics; series and parallel capacitors; charge/discharge characteristics of capacitors in DC RC circuits; voltage/time and current/time graphs for a capacitor; time constant; energy stored in a capacitor.

Electromagnetic Induction and AC Circuits

  • Magnetic flux; magnetic flux density; Faraday’s Law; Lenz’s Law; voltage/time and current/time graphs for an inductor; time constant; self inductance; the inductor; energy stored in an inductor
  • mutual inductance; the transformer
  • the comparison of the energy dissipation in a resistor carrying direct current and alternating current; peak and rms voltage and current; phase
  • phasors in AC; reactance and impedance and their frequency dependence in a series circuit; voltage and current and their phase relationship in LR and CR series circuits; resonance in LCR circuits.