Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Tuesday 5th July 11

Another long day... working in a school near Leeds.  I had decided that to get me there on time, I'd use a taxi from Leeds station out to Farnley Park Maths and Computing College.  So I worked backwards to get my start time.... Work at 11, so needed to be at the college at, say 10.30, so needed to be in Leeds at 10ish, therefore needed to leave York 9.30ish, and leave the house at 9ish. 

Actually, most of these times got shifted forwards by about 10 minutes, but I got to the College at 10.40 and was changed and ready to perform by 11, as contracted.

My role was to be part of a 'Gifted and Talented' day, for about 60 kids who were all 14 or 15 years old... so hardly children any more!  I had 3 one-hour shows, each one a circus science and maths thing, my 'Professor Fiddlesticks Fun Physics' show.

This starts with me about to do the juggling and then I stop and say, oops, I'm supposed to do some maths here, aren't I?  Let's get it over and done with, so watch this please and tell me where the maths is, and I throw a single ball up and let it come down onto the floor nearby.  From this we often get a comment of 'gravity' and then, with prompting, the other forces of pushing it up and pushing it across. These three variables (although gravity isn't really a variable here) make the lovely parabolic curve.

So, with that out of the way, I get on with devilsticks and then explain/show the way that the baton balances on the fulcrum if either side is of equal weight, but falls off if one side is heavier.  If allowed to fall, inertia keeps the stick rotating, so it's easy to catch on the second stick... and if caught off centre, it falls off in the other direction, and can be caught by the first handstick again.  Easy physics, so then I make it much more interactive and invite two volunteers to come and have a go.  With young children, there's a forest of hands goes up, but with 15 year olds, they need persuading.

The next thing is easier to get them to participate in, the feather balancing.  And this is a good way to demonstrate friction with the air, or air-resistance, as the feathers have much more surface area than a simple stick.

The diabolo shows gyroscopic force, and yo-yo balls chaos.  Then the 4 wheel unicycle is usually popular, and only a select well-balanced and controlled few get as far as the 2 wheel unicycle.  No-one got as far as the one wheel unicycle in any of the 3 shows I did today.  I then finish the show with devilsticking and unicycling at the same time, as a 'clever' finale.

So, I did one show before lunch and two after, and all seemed to go well.

At about 3 I got changed and walked up to the bus stop, and the bus took me to within 4 minutes walk of the station... and just managed to get a train home, with one minute to spare.

When I was in York I remembered that I needed to get my Fiddlesticks boots re-soled, so I went to the cobblers behind the Spurriergate Centre and left then there, to be collected on Thursday.

So was home before 6pm, had a bit to eat and went to a Transition meeting at 7.30, at The Seahorse.  There were a young couple using the parlour, but they were quite interested in what our meeting was about so they stayed, and contributed.  Dave Merrett, Kit and Ivana turned up, and we discussed the various ways we could get a Community Generator project going; I have some notes to type up and weblinks to forward.

Home before 10pm and then a late night followed......

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