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Using spreadsheets

Keywords: absolute and relative cell references, chi-squared, Excel, formulas, graphing, model, OpenOffice Calc, simulating data, Solver, spreadsheets, trend line, uncertainties

Want a quick way to do calculations, simulate data and draw graphs? Here are some quck tips on using spreadsheets to do this!

In this activity, we will use an accepted physical model, that of an object falling in a vacuum, to create simulated data that could result from an experiment. We will then graph this data and fit a trend line to it.

7 years 11 weeks ago

Energy and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Calculations

Keywords: carbohydrates, energy, GHG production

How much Chemistry and Biology do you need to understand to estimate energy and greenhouse gas production? Very little.

Gain a basic understanding of energy and GHG production calculations.

7 years 10 weeks ago

Wind Turbines

Keywords: kinetic energy, power, wind energy, wind turbines

Can wind turbines actually be used to harness a substantial amount of power?

The total energy available in wind and the power that can feasibly be extracted from it will be determined using the fundamentals of kinematics. Following, the limitations of location and machinery of wind turbines that restrict the amount of power that can be harnessed will be examined, before comparing the impact of wind energy with various other common sources of energy.

7 years 10 weeks ago


Keywords: albedo, anthropogenic climate change, solar radiation, Stefan-Boltzmann law

Will the Icelandic volcano cool us off?

Using some straightforward physics to assess the possible impact of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption on the climate.

7 years 10 weeks ago

Hydro-Electric Dams

Keywords: dams, greenhouse gases, hydro-electricity, power

Why is this beautiful valley in north-eastern BC about to be flooded?

A look at the generation of power by a hydro-electric dam.

7 years 10 weeks ago

Cycling and Showering

Keywords: cycling, energy use, heat capacity, showering

Are cycle commuters, who take an extra shower, doing more damage to the environment than those who commute by car?

A recent letter to the Vancouver Sun claimed that commuting by bicycle was worse for the environment than commuting by car. The reason given was that if a cycle-commuter takes an extra shower at work (because cycling makes you sweaty), that burns the energy equivalent of a litre of gasoline, which is more than a car would burn on an average commute. Fact or rubbish?

7 years 9 weeks ago

Turn the Heat Off!

Keywords: energy loss, heat loss, power

Do you save more energy by leaving the heat on at night or by turning it down and reheating the house the next day?

We examine the benefit of turning off the heat when you go out.

7 years 9 weeks ago

Home Heating

Keywords: conduction, cooling, heat exchange, heat loss, heating

Where are these houses losing the most heat to the environment? The picture on the left is taken with visible light, that on the right is taken with infrared light with a wavelength of about 10 μm.

An example of how to model the heating and cooling of thermal systems, including a look at some of the issues surrounding the heating and cooling of buildings.

7 years 9 weeks ago

Simple Earth Climate Model

Keywords: albedo, black body radiation, climate, conservation of energy, energy balance, heat transfer, Stefan-Boltzmann law, surface temperature

Which planetary characteristics contribute to producing a mean surface temperature that makes Earth habitable?

Developing a simple model of Earth's atmosphere to infer what physical processes are important in maintaining a mean global temperature of about 14.5°C. Further, the model can also be used to show how this temperature can change.

7 years 9 weeks ago

Debating Tips

Keywords: critical thinking, debate, denial, global warming

Having trouble recognizing and refuting bunk claims?

Some tips to help you in discussions where scientific data is being used to support or dispute a claim.

7 years 9 weeks ago
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C21: Physics Teaching for the 21st Century
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