Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Direct Current Circuits Relfection

We have just finished a unit on electricity and cirtuits. We learned about DC circuits, or direct current circuits. These circuits always have a battery, wires, and and a resistor (usually a lightbulb). They can also have a voltmeter, ammeter, different types of resistors, many batteries, and many other things to make the circuit interesting. In the diagrams below, I have examples of three types of direct current circuits: a series circuit, a parallel circuit, and a complex circuit (a combination of both).

This is an example of a series circuit.
This is an example of a parallel circuit.

This is an example of a complex circuit

Monday, May 3, 2010

Waves and Optics Reflection

I have learned a variety of things in our unit of waves and optics. I learned how to draw ray diagrams (with converging and diverging lenses and mirrors), how to solve problems involving waves, light, sound, lenses, and mirrors, and about light and the human eye. I learned the different types of waves, longitudinal and transverse, and a new letter called lambda. This means wavelength. I learned how to find lengths and speeds of waves along with many other variables. I also learned about the doppler effect and how it pertains to waves and sound. Lastly, I learned about mirrors and lenses. These were fun but a bit difficult for me.
Mirrors and lenses gave me a bit of trouble. I did not catch on to the ray diagrams very quickly, and in turn didn't fully understand many of the problems. I also had trouble with the differences in converging and diverging lenses and mirrors. The switching of signs for real, unreal, upright, virtual, converging, and diverging really threw me off for a little while. Eventually, with practice and a little help from my friends, I began to understand and kept working on it.
I believe that my problem solving skills are pretty good, and have improved tremendously throughout this year. I still struggle with diagrams, especially ray diagrams. I have improved with reading more into equations and finding more out, like if the focal length and radius are negative or positive based on the equation.  Physics has been a lot different than my other sciences, and involves a lot of problem solving and working things out. I think I still have some improving to do, but I have come a long way and will only get better.