Category Archives: Science

W^2 – planets

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Last night I set my alarm so I could go outside to see the five visible planets.

This morning the alarm went off, I thought about ignoring it, but I got up. I pulled a sweatshirt over my head and put on a pair of shorts and walked outside.

I had the lake to myself. The sun was beginning to rise, and the sky was clear, with the waning crescent moon highlighting the lake’s gentle waves. I could clearly see three of the planets; Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and while Venus had risen, I couldn’t see it because of the tree line. Mercury was still below the horizon. I decided four three planets and the moon were enough.

Before long the sun rose, and the day began. It is going to be a great day and tomorrow could possibly be a million and six times better. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the days Count one day at a time, stopping to take in the world for moment.

When was the last time you got up early to see the morning sky?

moving purposefully

Yesterday morning, I went for a hike at a new location, St. James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville, Illinois. It’s less than five miles from my house, about a ten-minute drive, and I had been there a couple of times, but I had never hiked. The parking lot was largely wide open when I arrived. Wednesday was s hot and humid, unseasonably warm HOT for mid-June which explained the parking lot.

the sun and a solid oak at St. James Farm Forest Preserve

St. James Farm and the adjacent Cantigny Park could be called an American “Downton Abbey.” Continue reading moving purposefully

W^2 – wonder

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 25, 2022

How in the world did the balloon get inside that flask? Wonder. Scullen Middle School, Naperville, IL May 24, 2022 10:45 AM

This week for my W^2 post, wonder.

I snapped this photo yesterday in class after four straight demos of the scientific principle,

As temperature increases, the volume of gas increases. As temperature decreases, the volume of gas decreases.

And while my students watched the demonstration, some understood, but some are still wondering what happened and how that balloon got inside the glass. Is it magic? No, it’s science.

It is Wednesday, the middle of the week and there are as I sit and type FIVE more days of school this year and then it is summer. I can’t wait, they can’t wait. But we are going to make those five days count.

I know it is going to be going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day and trying to compress learning just like air particles can be compressed.

What makes you wonder these days?

W^2 –moon, calm

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 18, 2022

sunset on the lake, waxing moon, calm. Lake Margrethe, Grayling, MI Saturday, May 14, 2022 8:59 PM EDT

This week for my W^2 post, the calm after the storm.

This past weekend I asked my wife I made a quick trip to the lake and back. Up late Friday afternoon and home late Sunday night.

We had chores to do, and I was looking for a bit of calm as the school year winds (and grinds) to a finish. As in my previous post, W^2 – beauty and the beast, weather intervened. The skies opened and a thunderstorm rolled across the lake bringing hail and almost an inch and half of rain in about thirty minutes.

Once the storm passes, the skies cleared and there was calm. Calm enough to sit at the end of the dock and admire the sunset or flip the other way and admire the moon rise.

It was an excellent weekend, and I got a taste of summer, early. We also got the calm we needed and craved.

It is Wednesday, the middle of the week and there are as I sit and type ten more days of school this year and then it is summer. Today and I going to try and convince my 6th graders that there is a lot of space in the atmosphere for air particles (aka atoms and molecules) to move and I hope it provides the calm they need to weather the final days of the year. I know it is going to be going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day and trying to compress learning just like air particles can be compressed.

What brings you a little calm these days?

W^2 – beauty and the beast

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, May 4, 2022

This week for my W^2 post, I have more more from mother nature – beauty and the beast.

Beauty, tulips in the mall, after the first storm (and tornado to the south) – Oakbrook, IL. Saturday, April 30, 2022 6:08 PM

This past weekend I asked my wife if she wanted to go shopping. It’s often the other way around. But I needed new glasses and frames. So off we went. I did get the frames and much more.

Spring weather in the Midwest can run the range of faux spring (as in my last W^2 post) to real spring and mild to violent. Saturday, we got the latter – two bouts of it in the span of a late April afternoon.  Our shopping was interrupted by two waves of severe weather including a tornado that set off severe weather alerts.

That was Saturday and today is Wednesday and it is going to be an amazing day!

It is spring, again and the birds are singing, the sun is shining after a couple of days of rain. And this morning, my kiddos are going to melt and vaporize menthol. I am excited. It is going to be a great day. I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, making the most of every day and squeezing in a little learning when you least expect it.

How are doing this lovely May day?

Eerie storm clouds, the second wave passing our neighborhood to the south – Wheaton, IL Saturday, April 30, 2022 7:43 PM

 

Be Curious, not Judgmental

It is the Saturday morning before Easter and I am up early, before anyone else. Normally, I’d be at Loaves and Fishes volunteering helping families in need of food get the food they need, but Loaves and Fishes is closed for the holiday. I did work Thursday after school as it was the last day that families could get food this week and it was terribly busy.

trees along the path, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve, Wheaton, IL. April 10, 2022 5:29 PM

Yesterday I was reading my devotional, The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge by Tony Dungy. I was reading the entry for July 21st. I know yesterday was April 15th, but I started reading the journal a couple of years ago and I started almost two years ago on April 25, 2020, by starting with the January 1st entry. The intent was to read each day and finish a year later on April 24, 2021, with the December 31st entry, but that didn’t happen. Things happen and life gets in the way of good intentions. But each time I have read an entry; I have felt as though the passage is speaking directly to me. Yesterday’s title was “Discernment instead of Judgement.” As I read the entry, I reflected on its meaning, and I immediately thought of the TV comedy series Ted Lasso. Last week, a colleague and I had been talking about teaching science and the topic of Ted Lasso wisdom had come up. He mentioned a Ted Lasso quote, “Be Curious, not judgmental,” and we chuckled because I encourage my students to be curious and full of wonder in science. Continue reading Be Curious, not Judgmental

Friday and wonder

It is Friday of spring break. Our last full day on break, tomorrow morning we’ll pack up, clean up, and begin the journey home. It had to end; all, good and bad, things do. It is the nature of things.

My wife and I are enjoying our break in the Florida Keys with another couple we know. He was a childhood friend of my wife, and he was in our wedding 30 years ago. We have lot in common and we’ve enjoyed our time together on vacation away from the cares and responsibilities of adulthood. We’ve had an enjoyable time together; we’ve had excellent food along with the time to enjoy it, adventure, and we have relaxed along the beach listening to the rhythm of the surf and the breeze rustle through the palm trees. It’s been fun, but tomorrow we are back to our life and how we live it. And that is good.

last night’s dinner, a grilled fish sandwich, and the last photo I took in March.

There has been a little bit of ‘normal life’ from me here on vacation, there’s been the morning devotion time, a walk to move purposefully, coffee to begin each day, and a newfound challenge the Wordle.

I’ll admit I was not an early adopter of the challenge, but I’ve become fond of it. If you haven’t tried it, give it a whirl at Wordle @ New York Times. Each day, the NY Times offers a new five-letter as a challenge, and you have six tries to get the word. This morning I tried a new starter word – STARS. I have used all sorts of starter words among them are ADIEU, MEATY, TEASE, and MOUSY. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. My blogger friend Mary at Wilderness of Words was a persistent user until she reached fifty completed puzzles, then she stopped. I wonder if she misses the daily challenge. I’ll admit I miss her daily encouragement and gentle reminder to stretch my mind, even just a little.

This morning, I correctly guessed the Wordle in three guesses or words. I consider this a fluke I have only accomplished this 6/29 times and I usually take five and sometimes six guesses to get it right. I don’t want to give today’s word away, but STARS came back with the confirmation I had two letters correct and one, the letter S was the first word in the day’s Wordle. My next guess, inspired by the direction I was facing, was a guess to check for additional vowels, ‘A’ was a miss and there were four remaining possibilities – ‘E-I-O-U.’ The last, and correct, guess was inspired by our dogs and how I miss them.

Tomorrow it’s back to life and I am ready for it.

Yesterday, I finished my fifth book of the year, The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom. I am a little ahead in this year’s reading challenge. Each year I set a goal to read twelve books. I should read more, but I haven’t the past few years. Regardless, The Stranger in the Lifeboat tells the story of a group of people who are shipwrecked and find themselves adrift when one announces he is the Lord, and He is there to save them if only all the occupants of the life raft can accept Him as the Lord.

the night sky featuring Orion, Tuesday, March 28, 2022

Continue reading Friday and wonder

W^2 – snow moon

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, February 16, 2022

looking west into the setting snow moon – Wheaton, IL. Wednesday, February 16, 2022 5:09 AM

This week for my W^2 post, I have a snow moon. Every moon has a name and February’s is snow. The moon this morning was 98.2% of the full moon phase with the true full phase occurring later this morning at 10:56 AM. By that time the sun will make observing the moon impossible or the clouds will obscure it, regardless it won’t be visible to the naked eye so, I am thankful to have seen the moon each of the past two mornings when I let the dogs out at 5 AM.

We have snow in the forecast for tomorrow, and I believe my students will be a little excited with the prospect of a snow day on Thursday along with the effects of the ‘snow moon.’ So today’s will likely be an interesting day of learning.

We are still learning about light and every day there is a new reveal, that’s life as it should be. Something marvelous and full of wonder each day, like present.

Today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. And also, press publish. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, looking for wonder and sometimes finding it.

What has filled you with a sense of wonder recently?

W^2 – restorative

W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, December 15, 2021

The lake has a layer of ice in the background, winter is near, Herrick Lake Forest Preserve Wheaton, IL December 11, 2021, 3:25 PM

Saturday afternoon Fern and I took a walk at our local forest preserve. It was the first time in while she and I stepped out together on a hike. I couldn’t find my gloves, it was very windy, and my fingers were cold holding the leash and my new hiking stick. Temperatures last Saturday were above freezing, but when we passed the south end of the lake, we could see a crust of ice coating the surface. I did learn one thing, don’t use a hiking stick with Fern on a leash.

It was a good walk to clear the head, move the legs, and breath some fresh air. Like so many things in life, I just to make time for them. Restorative.

There are six days, counting today, until school is out for winter. The solstice arrives in five. It’s going to be an amazing day and it’s already begun. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, working on ways to restore, refresh, and move. Peace.

Where did you go for your most recent walk? Please share.

W^2 – waxing moon

Venus and a waxing moon, DuPage Forest Preserve Headquarters, Wheaton, IL November 7, 2021, 5:26 PM

We’ve been watching the skies in my science classes this past week. We have been watching Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus in the early evening sky. It has been fun to watch the planets as well as my students when I begin class by asking,

“Did anyone go outside last night?”

Their eyes light up and some even produce photographs of the night sky they took on their phones. It’s exciting to see the wonder and enthusiasm for discovering something new. I found the video below and I was excited to learn about a partial lunar eclipse on the evening of November 18-19. You can check it out below. I will set my alarm to see partial lunar and I hope that it is a clear night. Watching and listening to my students makes me realize I am doing what I am supposed to be doing as I begin my seventh decade today. Yes, it is my birthday, and I am 60. I still feel like a young man full of curiosity and wonder. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, thinking like a young person keeps me young and full of excitement about what’s coming next.

What keeps you going?