# Blogs

## Science Blogs

Sometimes the same procedure shows up in two different contexts. This is especially common in the fields of math and science, as science employs in real-world application many of the techniques we learn in their abstract form in math class. For some reason, the principle as shown in a high-school science class is often much harder for students to understand than it was in the math class. (My personal theory is that science teachers are applying the concept in a way that changes how they explain how it works, and they probably have not collaborated with the student's math teacher to ensure they're reinforcing the same terminology.) Last week one of my students ran into this phenomenon in her own work; a concept from last year's math class showed up in her physics class. To help her understand it, we went back to the original math concept and talked about proportions. The science homework she was struggling with was the old chestnut about unit conversions; rows and rows of fractions... read more

Math is all around us. We use math to calculate the speed of the earth rotating about its axis. We use math to calculate the radius and height of a water tank to store enough water for a town. We use math to calculate the amount of carpeting material to purchase for our houses, and we use math to calculate the amount of fabric material to purchase to sew a pillowcase for our pillows. This means that you cannot run away from math. Even the dosage of painkiller medicine that your body needs depends on your weight and the use of math. I have another example of the applications of math in our everyday lives. Movie theaters like any other for-profit business, have a budget with expenses and income columns. In order for the movie theater to break even, it needs to sell a minimum amount of tickets. This movie theater needs to sell a minimum of 100 tickets as the sum of the of tickets purchased. Also it needs to make a minimum of \$100 from the sum of the tickets purchased in order to break... read more

In math or science we come across terms such as inverse proportion and direct proportion. When two variables are directly proportional an increase in one variable causes an increase in the other variable. When two variables are inversely proportional an increase in one variable causes a decrease in the other variable.    Inverse Proportion: To illustrate inverse proportionality, I will use a common physics problem. Two golf balls are thrown down from a tall building at the same time and one ball has twice the velocity of the other ball. Which ball hits the ground first assuming only velocity is different?  We already know that velocity is approximately equal to distance / time. Let the velocity of the slower ball be v. Assuming only the velocity of the two balls is different, we can say approximately v = d / t. We can eliminate wind force, atmospheric force, and force of gravity since both balls will be affected equally. If you increase v,... read more

Oh, voila!  I feel so smart and timely.  Today I invented a new word  — “incognition” — which rose to my mind when I considered those things I most enjoy teaching, as well as the teasing comments my students make when asked to describe our class. I felt pleased that my new word evokes (1) the idea of intuition, which in scientific thinking refers not to the sort of unconscious — unconscientious — flashes of information which come to us unbidden, usually from a set of perceptions we don’t notice, or from a logical association we follow without being aware of it — but refers instead to a set of skills which must be deliberately, meticulously, self-critically developed; … (2) metacognition, which I try very hard to teach my students; and … (3) a feeling of playfulness, the joy I feel when my students gleefully tease me about how when they signed up for this class, they thought they were going to study biology and, instead, they are learning about things like... read more

I was just thinking about this questions yesterday. Being a scientist, the comment was made that when you love science, you love the exciting and you love the tedious. So, I have my five things... 1. Make it personal. I start by listening to the student and what gets them excited and what they are fearful of in that environment. For example: I have a Math student who loves basketball. He hates math and is very athletic. I ask him "what would you do to increase your free-throw percentage from 52% to 91%?" His response, "I would do anything!" But, he is bad at math on paper, so we come up with a way for him to track his free-throws, shooting percentage, overall efficiency, etc and he calculates these items. 2. Use Analogies. After listening to my student, I start putting all my questions in form that they will understand and love. The student starts forming their own questions because they have learned how to think rather than have a blank... read more

Hi all,     So my experiment with the waiting list was a mixed success.  I had some students remain interested when I contacted them as availability popped up later in the semester, but it was about 20% of the people. It was still a useful way to remain visible to students so I'm going to continue it.   I have room this Fall for another student or two, so please contact me ASAP to avoid the waiting list! I'll have the most available time slots for the least amount of traveling.  This means that students who want to meet in Manhattan will have the easiest time / find my schedule the most flexible.  I've started doing a little tutoring in Python programming, so if anybody is interested in working on that at a discounted rate please contact me!  Cheers! Chris

We all have one: that one subject that our brains just refuse to understand, and no matter how much we study or how hard we work, we never feel like we really truly GET what is going on.   For me, that subject was always Physics. No junior high or high school teacher could ever answer the unending string of "...but WHY?" questions that I needed answered before I could understand even the most basic concepts of our Introductory course. It wasn't that I couldn't understand, but rather that I wasn't being taught these ideas in a way that made sense to me.    As an adult, Physics is now actually one of my favorite subjects to read about because I have found some books written for people just like me, people who need explanations fulls of examples and explanations and lots of pictures! I may never discover black holes or split an atom, but I now know enough that I can understand the people who do those things. :-)     So,... read more

Hi!   If you are interested in a healthcare career, I definitely encourage you to pursue it! Don't let the fact that you may still be in high school or that you already may have a career in another field, stop you from exploring the possibilities in healthcare. If you want to succeed in the competitive environment surrounding most healthcare careers, academic preparation is very important. If you have any questions related to healthcare, please let me know, and I will answer them or refer you to other resources. I love helping students in science and healthcare related studies!

Hi everyone! I've had years of experience with teaching and tutoring math and science, and I've been a student of science and math myself. Some of my students have asked me about strategies for learning math and science concepts that are fun and effective. Here are two quick tips to help you ace that next test or homework assignment. Good luck! Make connections between what you're learning and what you'd actually like to learn.  This tip is for people who are learning concepts that don't interest them very much (yet) and are interested in lots of other cool things. Are you learning about graphing inequalities but you're not really a fan of pre-algebra in general? Have a parent or a friend make up word problems about real-life situations that would be interesting to you! Don't like geometry but you're a big fan of dinosaurs and volcanoes? Maybe making up your own problems where you need to figure out how the velocity of a rock that was blasted out... read more

Alegbra: http://www.nysedregents.org/algebraone/   Algebra 2/Trigonometry: http://www.nysedregents.org/a2trig/home.html   Geometry: http://www.nysedregents.org/geometrycc/   Math A, Math B, Integrated Algebra, Other Math: http://www.nysedregents.org/regents_math.html   Chemistry: http://www.nysedregents.org/Chemistry/   Earth Science: http://www.nysedregents.org/EarthScience/   Physics: http://www.nysedregents.org/Physics/

I remember going to school and feeling like something was wrong with me because I was good at mathematics. Especially, since nearly every teacher felt the need to re-iterate how girls were not as good at mathematics as boys based on what ever random statistics at the time.   However, I excelled and kept going. I got a degree in mathematics. So, what made me different from all the other girls that got discouraged. Natural ability for mathematics; however, when I reflect that's not the whole story. As I went to college, there were other girls that were great at mathematics, but once again got discouraged. So, what made go on to pursue degrees is Computer Science, Mathematics, and Computer Engineering.   I got the same discouraging information as everyone else, but I kept going. Why?  1) "Fighter" Personality My personality is such that when someone tells me that I can not do something, then I wanted to fight that much harder to prove them... read more

As a teacher and tutor of math and chemistry, dimensional analysis is always the way to get from "here" to "there" when one is working with diverse unit systems or just trying to work a path from the givens or knowns to the solution.   As a student, I didn't formally learn dimensional analysis until I was in high school. Yet, little did I know, I had been using it all along. Certainly, though, when I learned to use labeling units and canceling them to my advantage, I had a Eureka moment and both my knack for, and comprehension and appreciation of, mathematics and the sciences blossomed.   For these reasons, I believe dimensional analysis should be taught when fractions are introduced... in fourth grade, perhaps. Just a thought. What do other teachers/ tutors of math and/or science think?

Hello! I wanted to share something with everybody which seems obvious to me, but I'm not sure everyone is on the same page. Have you ever had a terribly boring school teacher? I bet you have because we all have at some point! It doesn’t mean that these teachers are all uneducated in their subject, (although they might be…) it just means that either: A. They aren’t involved enough in their field to have passion for it or B. They don’t know how to transmit that passion to students effectively To be able to have fun or at least gain respect, understanding, or interest in a subject - the subject must be presented in an interesting way. It seems obvious when you put it that simply, but some or most teachers don’t care enough to even pretend to be excited, passionate or involved in their field. This makes learning from these teachers very difficult, especially if the students are self-sufficient learners. ——That is where... read more

I am a High School Science Teacher and we deal with a lot of word problems that contain many variables that could fit into many different equations. Here is how I break down the content step by step for my students.      Physics Problem A box is accelerating across a frictionless surface. It is being pushed with 75 newtons of force and the has a mass of 10 kilograms. What is the magnitude of the box's acceleration?   1) You want to identify and label all variables presented to you in the problem.      Ex: F = 75 N, m = 10 kg   2) Identify and Label the Variable the question is asking you to find.      Ex: a = ?   3) List possible known equations that have the variable you need to solve for.      Ex: a = v/t            F = ma   4) Choose the equation that has variables that are known from the problem.  ... read more

If you are like me, you want to get a head start on things -- "hit the ground running," as they say. What better way than to get started on the new year in academics! I always found that when I was in high school or college, summer reading was very enjoyable. There were no deadlines -- I could nestle up by a tree and read for hours. I recommend giving it a shot.   When it comes to chemistry, what better way to get started than reading some basics. One of my favorites is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. It is a great overview of science in general. I also recommend John Gribbin's In Search of Schrodinger's Cat. It is an amazing story about the discovery of quantum mechanics and is a must for all explorers of science.   It is also a good idea to get a chemistry set and do some basic chemistry experiments. It is a fun and interesting activity! A lot of chemistry experiments can even be done in one's own household... read more

Today, the future depends on you as much as it does on me. The future also depends on educating the masses in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, otherwise known as STEM. As a new tutor to WyzAnt, I hope to instill the importance of these subjects in student's lives, as well as, the lives around them.    Besides the fact that,  "the average U.S. salary is \$43,460, compared with the average STEM salary of \$77,880," (Careerbuilder) these subjects are interesting and applicable to topics well beyond the classroom. Success first starts with you; I am only there to help you succeed along the way. STEM are difficult subjects. Yet when you seek out help from a tutor, like myself, you have what it takes to master them.    Please enlighten me on students looking to achieve and succeed rather than live in the past and think I can't as opposed to I can. We can take the trip to the future together, one question at a time

Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer...   ...because it teaches you how to think.   -Steve Jobs     Knowing how to program is an incredibly important skill that is becoming more and more valuable as technology is becoming extremely important in our everyday lives.   And even if you don't plan to be a tech-savvy computer geek who is shaping the future, programming can still greatly help you reach your goals.   I have met many mathematicians, biologists, chemists, statisticians, and accountants who used their programming knowledge to make programs that help them reach their goals.   Many scientists who conduct research program their own applications that help them conduct research or properly store/interpret data.   I have met accountants who used programming to make Excel application tools and other database tools.   If for no other reason, one... read more