Monday, May 6, 2013

A Sick Teacher’s Morning/ Newton’s Law of Cooling Application

If you are uninterested in my  battle and detective work against e. coli and only want to talk Newton’s Law of Cooling, skip down to paragraph 6. I understand Newton’s law of cooling is way more interesting.

Starting at 2 am today, I woke up with a horrible stomach ache. I believe my morning from 2 am-6 am was a result from an evil army of microscopic, hairy Mic n’ Nikes- I looked up what e. coli looks like. I constantly forget about and do not give enough respect to our microscopic world that can overtake so easily.

I have two suspect sources:  I sprouted some alfalfa sprouts in my magic sprouter. I am now afraid of my beautiful cup full of alfalfa, and sadly I think I may just compost them. Or, I also tried eating dandelion leaves for my first time, which I first washed in the rain collector barrel we have. Either I am allergic to dandelion leaves, which I think is like being allergic to lettuce- so unlikely. Or, the NPR program over how rain barrels are e. coli collectors is sadly true.

Anyway, I think e. coli ruined my morning pretty horribly. Never fear though; my students had lessons today yet. I hunched over my computer on the bathroom floor putting together lesson plans. It was sad because there are three weeks of school left, so the crunch time is upon me to get all that I want done. I prepared so well on Saturday night and had today laid out perfectly, only to hand it all over in dry-heaved, butchered form.

Anyway, I slept in hard and woke up feeling a lot better (:, but still not wanting to move around a lot. So, of course the mind starts to nag at you about all of the things I could do. Three things nagged the most: 1.) Writing a month overdue thank you- check. 2.) Writing a blog since it has been months- doing it, check! And 3.) correcting some papers- oh yes, always those; never check. Never L.

I figured I would take the time to share a recent lesson. It is in progress, so it is rough. I love having my students make websites. I love it. So, for our final project to close up our Calculus course, I am having them review an application of integration we went over through a fudge making project. They will be making a nerdy website by bringing in calculus calculations to calculating the time at which the fudge needs to cool.

I only have 7 more days with them. Two of which go to taking a test, so five. The first outline for this project is down below:

Task 1: My students at first had no idea what I meant by task one. Which to be honest I was peeved about. Was my objective not clear? Did they not know they should research about fudge making in order to do the task “CREATE THE INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING THE BEST FUDGE!” I got over myself though. I realize my instructions are vague. I had to prompt them, with too sarcastic of questions like “So you guys know all it takes to write instructions on MAKING THE BEST FUDGE.” I had the questions from the like “Are recipes good enough for task 1?” My response was “No. They need to find some tips and secrets." Then one students found a great resource (the first link I provided)  in the links down below. In a nutshell, they say the key to smooth fudge is in the COOLING and the WHIPPING. These were the resources I hoped they would come across:
Task 2:  We tested over Newton’s Law of cooling as an application to integration a couple months back, so I handed back there old test, and we discussed and journalled. Then we did the referenced problem which is as follows.
“46.)  When an object is removed from a furnace and placed in an environment with a constant temperature of 80o F, its core temperature is 1500o F. An hour later after it is removed, the core temperature is 1120o F. Find the core temperature 5 hours after the object is removed from the furnace.”

Task 3: I think the essential questions are the hardest part. We so far just discussed the two that I did as examples. We decided we are going to do a few batches to see how the rate at which it cools varies depending on the type of fudge it is. The types of fudge they listed: Cookies N’ Cream; Peanut butter; and regular. We are going to go with a standard room temperature. We also said we could do it on another day where the room is warmer (we do not have air conditioning at our school).
I will let you know how the rest of our discussion goes.
I see us taking two days to come up with more questions and write the protocol for the experiment.
We will take three to actually do the fudge making and website making. The roles for the website making can be the instructions for the fudge, the recipe writing, and the typing out of the protocol. Together, while the fudge is cooling and while we are eating, the calculations and the reflections can be pounded out and put up.
Stay tuned!