It works.

Mail Merge 1

For the first mail merge project I decided to to keep a similar format to the example quiz we did in class, but I wanted to see just how much I could vary the conditions of the problem using “if”statements and separate conditions in excel. I decided that given the amount of students in each period, I would need at least 7 different quizzes so that no more than 4 students in a period could have the same quiz. I imagine that for points recovery most students in high school will sit down with their friends (either in the same class or other classes) and try to figure out what went wrong, and given the variety of quizzes I think the probability of them having the same quiz is relatively low. I hope the variety will facilitate healthy scientific discussion.

This quiz is similar to the HS Momentum Assessment for Lesson 2.

MailMerge1 – Quiz Setup

MailMerge1MERGED – Merged Quizzes

SMITH_MM_project – Excel Spreadsheet (under mailmerge 1)

ID Score Report

Student Percentage Grade
109 69% D
113 78% C
106 89% B
102 53% F
118 79% C
117 48% F
107 79% C
104 64% D
121 64% D
115 64% D
110 53% F
114 69% D
108 79% C
105 68% D
103 74% C
119 58% F
116 74% C
111 79% C
120 64% D
112 56% F
101 47% F
315 80% B
320 80% B
344 85% B
317 70% C
308 80% B
302 75% C
306 70% C
323 85% B
301 75% C
316 70% C
322 70% C
314 80% B
307 85% B
309 75% C
324 60% D
311 60% D
321 70% C
318 70% C
310 65% D
319 70% C
304 65% D
312 60% D
303 50% F
326 75% C
313 60% D
327 60% D
325 65% D
305 65% D
712 70% C
704 60% D
708 60% D
706 70% C
705 65% D
707 65% D
709 75% C
715 70% C
714 70% C
711 85% B
701 75% C
702 70% C
717 80% B
710 85% B
713 85% B
703 85% B
902 75% C
908 65% D
905 80% B
903 60% D
904 75% C
909 70% C
906 60% D
907 65% D
914 75% C
910 70% C
912 70% C
913 80% B
911 60% D
915 80% B
901 60% D

Week 2

I’m hoping that an online presence allows students to become more involved with the direction my course takes. Above all, I want to be able to more effectively engage students and monitor their growth over a term. Because of these desires, I would probably end up using a Google site to  host my class page. From there I could link students to whatever feedback form I would like, post homework, start discussions, and list grades. Google is incredibly versatile and allows for plenty of personalization in addition to be non-centralized. I could do everything I want to using Google services and access my online course resources from anywhere with an internet connection.

Given my needs for my course, I do not think there are any resources that are out of reach. All of the services I would want to use are free, and so long as the school I’m teaching at has online resources (and so long as students have access to the necessary technology) I do not forsee there being any problems. This, of course, makes a big (and probably incorrect) assumption about my job placement and students, but I won’t know for sure until I begin teaching.

To make this presence safe for students of all ages, I think it will be important to add an administrative capacity to threads and posts. Proper online moderation will be incredibly important to ensuring the success of this component. Perhaps in the beginning all student made posts will require admin approval, and based on how the posting goes I will scale this back.


My overall strategy and plan is to prioritize community. I want my students to feel connected to each other and myself regardless of whether or not they are in school. I think it is important for them to think of physics as something that is all around them and not just localized in the classroom, and perhaps a good way of encouraging this thinking is to make sure the classroom culture exists outside of the school. With any luck, students will feel safe communicating with myself and each other online, and parents will be welcome to view what their children are discussing. Beyond that, I plan on using my online presence to post cool physics videos or demos relevant to the course, that way students can see applications outside of what is required to be taught in the actual class. The goal of this would be to establish a more connected understanding of physics, and perhaps seeing some simulations or videos that incorporate more than one idea will help students stray from thinking of physics as a bunch of individual topics.



The condition, which was first discovered in the 1980s, is called inclusion body disease (IBD), and is known to affect pythons and boa constrictors.

Writing in National Geographic, Ker Than describes how IBD causes bizarre behavioral abnormalities in snakes, including an inability to flip over when turned on their backs, and a condition known as “stargazing,” which makes them stare off into space and weave their heads back and forth as if drunk. The virus also makes the snakes more susceptible to other diseases, such as bacterial infections in their mouths.

Via i09.

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Neuroscientists who study consciousness have suggested that self-awareness depends on the presence of very specific “higher order” regions of the brain.

But now, a detailed analysis of a patient with a rare neurological condition has cast doubt on this assumption, indicating that self-awareness does not require a complex brain.


When it comes to the brain organs of self-awareness, neuroscientists have isolated the insular cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). But in a recent paper published in PLOS, a research team tested this theory by studying a man with extensive bilateral brain damage that affected all three of these regions — and quite severely. After a severe bout of herpes simplex encephalitis (which causes inflammation of the brain), only 10% of the patient’s insula remained, along with only 1% of his ACC.

He suffers from extreme amnesia, a condition that has partially affected his “autobiographical…

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Dark Matter



Photographer Stephen Wilkes does something both jarring and beautiful with photographs: He merges images from different times of day together to show the passage of time.


Via Stephen Wilkes.

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  • A Hangout is a web-based tool created by Google for communicating through video. Up to ten people can “hang out” at one time in a virtual “room.” A Hangout can be as simple or as complex as needed for the task at hand. It can be used simply to converse or, through the use of extra apps and add-ons that Google provides, a Hangout can become a robust, virtual meeting space.

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The Extinction Protocol

   A giant gaseous cloud will collide with the black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy sometime in the middle of 2013
February 3, 2013SPACE –A giant gas cloud is on collision course with the black hole in the center of our galaxy in 2013. This is a unique opportunity to observe how a super massive black hole sucks in material, in real time. The black hole at the centre of the galaxy, formally known as Sagittarius A*, fascinates scientists. By mid-2013 a gas cloud is expected to pass in its vicinity at a distance of only 36 light-hours (equivalent to km), which is extremely close in astronomical terms. So-called super massive black holes are the largest type of black holes. Their mass equals hundreds of thousands to a billion times the mass of our sun. The centre of all galaxies is…

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Researchers working at MIT have successfully manipulated the content of a rat’s dream by replaying an audio cue that was associated with the previous day’s events, namely running through a maze.

[W]hen the researchers played the audio cues from the experiment, they noticed a very interesting thing: the rats would dream about the section of the maze previously associated with the audio cue.

The experiment demonstrated that the content of a rat’s dream can be biased by re-activating certain memories while they’re asleep.

I am torn between making a snappy comment about potential supervillain origin stories or sly A Nightmare on Elm Street allusions.

Decisions, decisions.

Image via Fer Gregory at Shutterstock. via io9.

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