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Instructors of

Volume 8 Number 2 Winter 1994

Next meeting at JMU (featuring a demonstration of Interactive Physics)
Briefs from the October VIP meeting
Physics Day at Paramount's King's Dominion (Status Report)
Physics Pavilion Update
Santa Claus and Physics
Squiggle Ball Demo
A demo/lab from the October VIP meeting

Apologies for the short notice on the next meeting. We've been holding up publishing to hear from PASCO. Sadly they will not be presenting at the next VIP meeting.

Fall Meeting to be Held at James Madison University on February 26, 1994.


9:00 - 9:30 Hello's
9:30 - 10:30 VIP Business
Future directions of VIP (goals)
10:30 - 11:30 Hand out freebies, demonstrations and lesson plans to share
Demonstrations will feature some large cart dynamics demo's/labs by JMU's Dr. Dorn Peterson
11:30 - 1:00 Lunch (You are on your own).
1:00 - 3:00 Demonstration of Interactive Physics II


Bring your favorite physics lesson. Bring 50+ copies to handout.
Bring your favorite demonstration. Bring 50+ copies of a write up.
No registration is necessary.
The meeting is free. Lunch will cost between $4-$6. Non VIP members are invited to attend for free too.

At the Last Meeting

Did you go to the last meeting? We charted directions for the Physics Pavilion on Virginia's P.E.N. We traded labs and ideas. We learned about physics education opportunities. Everyone left with at Least $10 dollars worth of freebies. Fred Creasy left with a smart pulley form PASCO. It pays to go to these meetings!

A Few Thanks

Thanks to Dr. B. Deaver and the University of Virginia for sponsoring the last VIP meeting in October. We also wish to thank them for footing the bill for these mailings. The Virginia Instructors of Physics could not operate without their help.
Thanks also go out to Estes Industries and PASCO for donating so many freebies.

Physics/Science Day at Kings Dominion

by Brion Patterson
For the first time, Paramount's Kings Dominion's Science Day is scheduled this school year for a weekday! Circle Friday May 27, 1994. The park is at the disposal of only science and math students. Various aspects of the program are still being formulated, including possible VQUEST involvement, possible partnership with math, possible continuation of the Physics Field Day activities and outside speakers (probably including the Science Museum and a VMI Physics professor).
The admission price is not settled but is likely to be $15 per student. the parking is free.

Are you on VaPEN's e-mail yet?

Every educator in Virginia has access to and electronic information system called Virginia's Public Education Network, VaPEN. All you need is a computer with a modem, ...any computer brand. A VaPEN account gives you access to the information highway called internet. You can send electronic mail, e-mail, to anyone in the world. Get lesson plans related to USA Today or CNN in your subject area. Download worksheets, labs, lessons and demonstrations. Read about current NASA projects. Read press releases about the space shuttle launches. Download weather satellite images. And much more ...for free!!!
To get a VaPEN account, contact your school division's central office and they will connect you to the correct people. If that doesn't work, contact the editor of this newsletter.

VaPEN's Physics Pavilion is On-Line

Sign on to VaPEN. Select the "Academic Village" from the main menu. Then select Physics Pavilion. You have four options from hear. Below is an explanation of each option.
Option 1: Read Me First
This section explains the philosophy behind the pavilion, briefly what is available, and how to contact the curators of the pavilion.
Option 2: Interactive Resources
This section contains access to physics, space, flight and science education related newsgroups. There are also connections to the NEWTON system at UNCG, NEWTON system at Argonne National Laboratories, and NASA's SpaceLink.
Option 3: Archives
This section contains tests, labs, demos, physics conversation strings from various newsgroups, public domain, freeware and shareware software, compilations of frequently asked questions from various newsgroups, articles on physics and physics related topics. Everything is organized by computer system and text files. The text files can be read by everybody and contain the most items. (We need you contributions to make the archives a big success)
Option 4: Suggestion Box
Drop a note in this suggestion box to contact the curators. (It is a mail editor.)
What's New?
This is not an option but rather a paragraph explaining what's new and when the last files were uploaded.


by Anonymous
(This article was from a usenet newsgroup off of VaPEN. The return address of the author was "Santa_Claus.")

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT there are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.

This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4 miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer. This increases the payload - not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

5) 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy. Per second. Each. In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

...from people who got coal in their stockings last year.
m = slope origins

Pressure Demonstration/Density Lab

Performed by Jackie Hardie at the last VIP physics meeting.
written by Tony Wayne
Assemble the materials as shown to the right. When you evacuate the air the marshmallows will expand -they are mostly whipped up sugar. For a more dramatic effect replace the marshmallows with shaving cream. But do not use much. the shaving cream will expand much more than the marshmallows.
Vacuum Pump w/'mellos
The Density Lab
Have the students mass out a marshmallow. Now students calculate the volume of the marshmallow before they are put in the vacuum jar. To measure the volume, pour 50 ml of sand in a graduated cylinder. Put the marshmallow in the another cylinder. Pour the sand over the marshmallow. The difference in volume is due to the volume of the marshmallow. clean the marshmallow. Put it in the vacuum jar. Evacuate the jar's air. Then measure the density again.

Squiggle Ball Demo

by Tony Wayne
Have you seen a ball in the toys stores call the Squiggle Ball ? The ball rolls around endlessly with no visible power source. If the ball gets stuck in a corner it wiggles until it gets loose. This makes a great demonstration. It works similar to the "Come Back Can demo." The motor tries to spin the weight around the a center shaft. The inertia of the mass is much greater than the inertia of the ball shaped shell. Therefore the ball rolls around the hanging weight. You could also describe this as a dynamic situation where the energy is trying to remain in the lowest state.
Cross Section of a squiggle ball
As the weight rotates up the ball rolls. Trading off potential energy for kinetic. How is this the lowest state? If the ball does not roll, the weight will be raised higher and the system, will have more energy than if the ball rolls as the weight is raised.

The next issue will feature:
VaPEN's Physics Pavilion's Content Highlights
Summer Projects
Brion Patterson's Low Cost Optical Telecommunications Demonstration (shown at the last VIP meeting).
How to Make a Digital Timing System for About $15 a Station Instead of $300.

Please send the editor your great ideas to be published. Get recertification credit for being published and presenting at VIP meetings! The next newsletter should arrive in early June. Submit ideas by May 1, 1994.
Know anybody
VIP Officers
President: Tony Wayne
Albemarle High School
2775 Hydraulic Road
Charlottesville, VA 22901-8916

Vice President: Brion Patterson,
Rappahannock Co. High School
Sperryville, VA 22740

Secretary: Frank Anderson
Woodbeery Forest
Physics Pavilion
Curators: Tony Wayne
Albemarle High School
2775 Hydraulic Road
Charlottesville, VA 22901-8916
Fred Hoffman
Roanoke Valley Governor's School
2104 Grandinheck
Roanoke, VA 24015

Publisher: Dr. Bascom Deaver
Physics Department
Jesse Beams Laboratory
University of Virginia
McCormick Road
Charlottesville, VA 22901

Newsletter Editor: Tony Wayne
Albemarle High School
2775 Hydraulic Road
Charlottesville, VA 22901-8916

A special thanks to VASTfor hosting our web site.