Day 6- Lab revision, being a good presenter

Today’s commute started out much better than the day before, 52 minutes door to door, which is probably my best time so far.  It’s crazy how sometimes the trains arrive much earlier, and sometimes they arrive much later.  My trip usually averages to about 63 minutes door to door. 

We started out revising labs again.  Fjodor is still working on the first lab, which I had thought was completed.  There’s always revision to be done, but I’d really like to get the laboratories all edited so that we can then do a test run and then revise them more based on the labs.

I’m doing a ton of review of physics, as I haven’t covered this material since my Physics 131/132 classes with Heath Hatch at UMass Amherst.  I really enjoyed circuits though, so it’s fun to play around with satellite parts and the such.

We had a Brown Bag lunch with the other RETs, in which Mike Ruane gave a presentation on how to give good presentations.  Mike talked about all kinds of aspects to think about, from PowerPoint themes to scientific posters, and eventually publishing research.  I’ve thought about some of this before,  but there were some new aspects to me.

In the afternoon, we went back to editing labs, and then Mike came and visited us.  We talked more about our project, heard what the other groups were doing, and talked about timing.  We should be all set, and we’re busy this summer, but it’s not impossible.

I then went to the Prudential center with Alex Schwartz (who’s looking for a teaching job…please hire him, he’s a great teacher) and caught up.  Man, I love living in the city.

Day 5- Revision, Revision, and More Revision

Monday started out very hectic, as I there was a huge accident on I90 near Framingham, and the usually 2 hour (with traffic) commute took me about 3 hours and 35 minutes.  Fjodor was also running late, as he had went home to Worcester for the weekend, and was also stuck in the traffic. 

When we finally did start work, we kept revising Lab 1 and Lab 2.  Our goals for this week are to make it through all of the labs, which is starting to seem very ambitious. 

We started revising the labs, and more revision leads to more ideas, and more ideas lead to more revisions, and so on. 

We had a BUSAT brown bag lunch, and updated the rest of BUSAT on our project.  It was exciting talking to and hearing from many different undergraduate and graduate students about what exactly they are doing on a week by week basis.

In the afternoon, we met with Jean, our new graduate student friend.  She is helping us to construct the cut down mechanism for our balloon.  This mechanism is required by the FAA, as the Balloon must have two methods of dropping its payload.  One is the balloon bursting, the other is the cut down mechanism. 

We went through and tallied up the supplies we would need for the cutoff mechanism and then ordered them.  We’re still waiting for our supplies, so until then, we are revising labs.

Here is the diagram of our cut down mechanism:


Day 4- Teacher Pedagogy First Week

Today, we’ve started out the day by starting the first of our teacher pedagogy settings.  It reminds me of the technology class that I took in graduate school with Ruth-Ellen Verock-O’laughlin.  We spent the morning talking about different types of technology tools, and demonstrating how we use technology in each of our classrooms.  It was awesome to learn about some tools that I have never heard of, including Turn It In plagiarism checker, Socrative Student Response System (which is sort of like Poll Everywhere that I use), and Glogster, an online poster making website.

There are guiding questions that we have now as we try to finish up this session blogging about different responsibilities.  I didn’t realize we only have to do a blog post a week, but I’ll keep posting daily so the entire experience is well document.

The first question is to describe my process of assimilation into the laboratory.  I have had a fantastic week getting to know Fjodor, my lab partner, as well as Jonah and Pete, the undergraduates that work in the lab.  It’s also been great working with Project Manager Nate to go over the entire program.

The next question about the environment of the laboratory.  I like to think that our laboratory is very laid back, but in a productive way.  We have been receiving our equipment, so it’s always fun to see new cardboard boxes appear on our desk every day.  Really, I’m having a fantastic time.

I am working (as you know) with BUSAT to develop a series of laboratories for middle and high school students, incorporating science and technology with engineering.  My partner is Fjodor, who works at Somerville High School.  We’re working with a bunch of Undergraduate and Graduate students to accomplish our ultimate goal of testing equipment with a balloon launch from Mt. Greylock.

The essence of our research is how to teach students about near space experiences.  One facet is teaching the students about near space through a variety of labs, and the second facet is making meaningful labs that can be used for a variety of settings.

We haven’t really run into many challenges during week 1.  I had expected that it would be difficult to jump into the program, but Fjodor and I have been doing a fantastic job, and we’re ahead of the timeline that we had established at the beginning of the program. 

We’re planning on heading to lunch, and continuing work this afternoon on finishing up two projects- hacking our cameras with CHDK, so that they will take pictures every 30 seconds, and finishing up our supply inventory so we can place the order. 

Tonight I go back to Western Massachusetts- it’ll be nice to get out of the city for a break, as much as I love it here!