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# Mass vs. Weight

The difference between mass and weight is commonly misunderstood in the world of physics and engineering.   Mass is the traditional metric (SI) term for gram or kilogram. The English (Imperial) unit of mass is called a slug.   A pound is actually a force (F=ma), or weight when a is acceleration due to gravity (downward). (m is mass in the equation for force, also referred to as Newton's 2nd Law)   Weight can be a complicated term, confusing the issue in my opinion, so I prefer to use the term force when dealing with physics or engineering problems.   If you weight 150 pounds, that is the same as 150 pounds of force downward.   Remember, a pound is a unit of force, not mass.

# Are parabolas always oriented on the x or y axis?

Of course not! There's a whole x-y Cartesian plane out there to play on, so there's no reason they should be. They can be tilted and positioned any which way. Of course, when you start out learning about conic sections (including parabolas), you start with the simplest parabola, y = x^2, then graduate to (y-b) = (x-a)^2 and similar forms interchanging x and y. And when you use parabolas, to figure the trajectory of an object which was launched with a certain velocity, in a certain direction, and is subject to gravity, you use only untilted parabolas (well, parabolae, if you want to use the correct plural word). Most algebra classes don't have you figure out what a tilted parabola equation would look like, but it isn't that tough to figure out. First, though, it helps to reconsider just what it is that you do when you graph a point on the curve of an equation (and you thought you knew!). Let's say you're working with an ordinary function on ordinary x-y axes (it could... read more

# Staying Sharp over Winter Break

It is inevitable to forget some of your coursework during Winter break, but you don't want to forget everything! Here are my top three tips to be prepared for your Spring semester courses.   1) Drop the remote and back away from the TV! Though sometimes all you want to do is veg-out, make sure to spend some time away from the TV, internet, and video games. Spend time outside and get familiar with winter biology. Are any plants growing or flowering during winter where you live? What animals are around? What food do you think these animals eat and how do they stay warm? Getting outside is a fun way to keep biological concepts fresh in your mind. If your next semester is filled with challenging chemistry courses try baking and cooking! Think about solutions (what is the solute and what is the solvent?) by making some rock candy (a tasty treat to share with friends). What type of crystal shapes are formed from the hardened rock candy? Can you make an suspensions, colloids,... read more

# Don't Forget the "Break" in Winter Break!

What are three great ways to keep your brain sharp over winter break? There could be many helpful strategies, but I think that it is best to not forget the "break" in winter break! In other words, find fun ways to keep your mind sharp by engaging your interests and natural curiosity!   1. Read a book! Winter break is a fantastic opportunity to finally read exactly what you want! Read for pleasure, whether that may be an exciting novel, a biography of a favorite historical figure, or even a nonfiction text on a cool wild animal or geologic process!   2. Get outside! Spending time in nature can do wonders for your brain. A recent study actually found that elementary students who walked to school gained as many benefits in the classroom as they gain eating breakfast (of course it was best to do both)! Although it may be cold outside, winter break is a fantastic time to take a nice, long hike or play in the snow!   3. Volunteer! The holiday season is filled... read more

# Top ways to Maintain Student Motivation

1.  Praise students in ways big and small   Recognize work in class, display good work in the classroom and send positive notes home to parents, hold weekly awards in your classroom, organize academic pep rallies to honor the honor roll, and even sponsor a Teacher Shoutout section in the student newspaper to acknowledge student’s hard work.   2.  Expect Excellence   Set high, yet realistic expectations. Make sure to voice those expectations. Set short terms goals and celebrate when they are achieved.   3.  Spread excitement like a virus   Show your enthusiasm in the subject and use appropriate, concrete and understandable examples to help students grasp it. For example, I love alliteration. Before I explain the concept to students, we “improv” subjects they’re interested in. After learning about alliteration, they brainstorm alliterative titles for their chosen subjects.   4.  Mix it up   It’s a classic concept and the basis... read more

# Keep a Journal

Get a journal and write something every day, at the same time every day, even if it's no more than a sentence or two. Write a poem, describe a winter setting, create an imaginary response if you were to call the North Pole and hear a deep voice say, "Hello, Ho Ho Ho and what would you like for Christmas?"

# Preserving Your Brain Over Break

If your school is like most, you'll be going to winter break soon. And unless you're in a year-long research or project course, you probably don't have any academic work to do for most of that break. How should you keep your brain active and not be a pile of mush when classes resume in January? Here's a couple tips from personal use. For Facts, Figures, and Specific Techniques   If you have specific bits of knowledge you want to retain and use, for spring classes or the future, use Spaced Repetition. This is a scientifically-organized flashcard technique, optimized to bring information back around at the best intervals to reinforce your memory. There are a couple brands of software that will do the timing for you. Anki is the largest one, with many sets of cards in common subjects already in their online database. I've found the best results with the Anki review as part of the morning routine, either on the smartphone app just after waking up, or right... read more

# Dr. B.'s Background

I have completed an A.A., two B.A.s, one Master's Degree, and one Doctorate. I have two post-doctoral diplomas. Needless to say, I have developed the study skills to fulfill the aforementioned accomplishments. Study skills come with academic accomplishments. However, it is necessary for some people to have direction on HOW to organize and arrange data so it is more easily digestible.

# Happy Break!

Happy break to my students! You have one less semester left in the year. You want to stay sharp over the break in order to start the next semester strong. Here are my three tips for staying sharp over the break.       Keep Practicing: Concepts in math build upon each other. Was there something you didn't understand in the first semester? Be sure to keep practicing over the break so that you keep the ideas fresh for when the next semester starts. There are great practice problems on the internet as well as lectures. Khan Academy is my favorite! Let me know if you want me to make you instructional videos and send them to you as well. Organize Yourself: During the semester your binder was probably all over the place! It can be hard to maintain order when there are so many chaotic things going on in your brain. Yet, it is good that you have a break in order to restore order for yourself. If your binder is still in good shape, just remove the papers and recycle... read more

# Braintrophy--How I Stay Sharp Over Winter Break

Winter break is something I look forward to every year! There are a plethora of holidays, lots of treats, and a ton of family time. Unfortunately winter break is also a time for my brain to try its best at atrophy. It's easy peasy to forget about everything from the previous semester. Thankfully, I've figured out how to keep my brain ready for the start of the next semester. There are three areas that my brain seems to struggle with: 1. Focus-- When I get back from the break, I'm much too preoccupied with all the things that just happened (and how boring sitting in class can be) to actually listen to the lecture, read the assigned reading, or even hold a discussion. Three weeks of lounging on my own schedule makes the transition back to school schedule rough. 2. Memory-- What did I learn before break? I don't know. I mostly remember snowmen, presents, and the number of times I watched Muppet Christmas Carol.  3. Motivation-- I don't know about you, but desks are... read more

# Reading Isn't What You Think It Is!

You've been reading at least since the third grade. Unfortunately, too often many of us continue to read at that level.  Let's take "The Great Gatsby" for example. Have you compared and contrasted the attitudes of the mid-westerners to those from the East Coast? Who is the "wild wag of an oculist" overlooking the garbage dump and what does he represent? And who is the "great" Gatsby, who is introduced almost as though he were a circus performer? Does the theme portray Gatsby as an idealist or just another crooked businessman? What about Daisy and Tom Buchanan? What attracts them to each other? What is Fitzgerald's opinion of his characters, particularly Gatsby? Does Nick speak for Fitzgerald? The Wilsons seem to represent those who have lost whatever strength and conviction they once possessed. How important are they to the plot and theme? Once you can thoroughly analyze a book like the Great Gatsby, knowing the plot seems unimportant. Books offer us so much more... read more

# Getting My Cross Cultural Language Acquisition Development Credential in Costa Rica

Hi Everybody!   I'd like to share some of my experiences when I chose to get my CLAD through experiencing a total immersion program in another country.     During my off-track time at a year round school, (where I was teaching full time) I got to meet people of different cultures and customs, as well as enjoy the Rain Forest which was truly beautiful!  There were so many birds, animals, flowers, flora and other creatures which we don't have here in the USA.  (sloths, frogs that look like they are wearing little yellow jackets (so to speak...) for example.   Being in a foreign country, I could relate to non-English speaking students here at home.  I was nervous and scared.  However, slowly with much studying and support from my teachers and other students, I was able to get my 6 units in foreign language with a grade of an A from the University.    It was a completely different experience that I would have had here at home.  I could have gone to UCLA or... read more

Hello all,   I wanted to take the time and let you know a little about me. I'm 31 years old and have been in the Commercial Glazing business for thirteen years now. I have worked in an office for the entirety of that time. From working in the office I have learned various programs like AutoCad, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and other various generic computer programs. I'm looking forward to helping someone that needs it. Have a good day.    Jon

# The Tutor/ School Connection

Tuesday, December 10, 2013   The Tutor/ School Connection Teachers in training learn the importance of cultivating meaningful connections with their students and their parents in teaching methods classes. Teachers know that maintaining regular contact with parents is essential to nurturing a positive home/ school relationship. The benefits of such a relationship are too numerous to mention. Tutors, along with students and their families, can benefit from a similar relationship. This article describes several benefits of a positive tutor/ school relationship and lists steps for initiating contact. Why a Tutor/ School Relationship? As a Behavioral Management Counselor at a local juvenile facility for adjudicated youth, my responsibilities included maintaining regular contact with all teachers of the residents on my client list. This included phone contact and attending parent/ teacher conferences. My unit housed young men ages 13 – 17 in a... read more