Browsing articles in "Compass News"

Summer Program 2013-Week 1 Update

Aug 17, 2013   //   by JesseLivezey   //   Blog, Compass News, Summer Program 2013  //  No Comments

The First Weekend: Reception and Revealing the Topic

The first week of the summer program has flown by. Over the first weekend, the students got to know each other and they got to know the Compass Project.
Welcome Reception
The Summer Program topic was revealed on Saturday as “How can we tell what direction sound comes from?” Our students began trying to answer this question by designing simple experiments they could use to gain some intuition about the question. At the end of class on Sunday, the students had decided that the first thing to do would be to define “sound” and understand its properties.
Large Group Discussion
Small Group Work

During the Metacognitive class, students began to think about scientific models. They also talked about the “Compass Classroom” and how learning in a classroom based on group work and student discovery can be beneficial.
Small Group Work

The First Week: What is Sound?

Today was the day that the students really got to work on defining and understanding what sound was. During the experimental class in the morning, they explored and build musical instruments that vibrated to make sound. Then, they built a model of sound that connects what is going on with the individual atoms in the air and the different noises and pitches that we hear.
Presenting with Whiteboards
Where is it coming from?
Other Sources of Sound

During some free time before dinner, the Compass Students played some Ultimate Frisbee!

Frisbee on the Glade

Academic Coordinators from Physics, Astronomy, and Earth and Planetary Science visited to tell our students a little about their departments.

Academic Advising Panel
On Wednesday, we hiked to the “The Big C.” There are great views of the East Bay and SF from there.

View from the Hike

Nice Day for a Hike

Towards the end of the week, students build their own speakers, looked at music and voices as both waveforms and frequency plots, and developed a model for how sound travels and interacts.

Experimental Classroom

Teachers and RAs Working on the Curriculum

Want more pictures? Check out the album!

Back from Sacramento: The Fall Retreat

Dec 11, 2012   //   by JohnH   //   Blog, Compass News  //  No Comments

Compass had our 2nd annual fall retreat up in Sacramento the weekend before Thanksgiving. Retreats are an exciting time where we can spend time together building community and talking deeply and broadly about the things which are important to us, so that we can all be a little bit closer to being on the same page. I was personally excited about being a part of envisioning some long-term goals for Compass. I’m always coming up with schemes, and the retreat serves as a place where everyone has come to think about Compass, and so schemes and thoughts are valuable rather than distracting.

We started off with a tradition, called “Story time with string”. When I read this on the agenda, I’m thinking to myself “Great, a corny community building activity.” But shame on me for doubting Joel and Josiah’s planning, because story time was fun and relevant to the goals of the weekend. We created the compass lineage using a ball of yarn, where people were passed the ball of yarn by the order which they had joined Compass. I learned about everyone’s histories as the yarn unraveled, and the connections which people had to one another, and the places where people had opportunities to work with one another made the history of Compass a much more coherent thing. It also made the story of Compass into a story of people. When we were done, the web of yarn was fun to play with, but it also doubled as a metaphor, partly for the breadth of our impact (when we move our yarn, everyone feels it), but also for the continuity of an idea that brings us all together.

That night, we got a chance to walk around Sacramento in the rain. It was some quality time with people who I rarely get to see in a context wich is not work related. Part of why I like Compass is because I like the people in Compass. Getting social time was really great. Dimitri gave us an awfully tricky puzzle with forks and cups that we failed to solve. I shook salt on many things. A good time was had by all.

The next day was packed with purposeful activities, and everyone was totally on board the whole time. If you’re a Compasseer, you can read about what went down on the wiki! What inspired me about the retreat was how many great, clever people are able to get together in one place and actually work to solve some really abstract problems. Diversity of opinion is really what makes this group wonderful to work with. I can be sure that there will be some level of disagreement about anything which comes up, and there will also be miscommunications when people who have very different conversational and mental types try to come to agreement. But through this, everyone gains a broader view on the issue or solution being proposed. No one owns the floor. No one gets left out. Somehow, sensibility trickles up from the chaos, and I attribute that to the cooperativity and sharpness of the people who are attracted to Compass.

Some of the things I’m most excited about which came to my attention that weekend are emerging collaborations with programs which are similar to Compass at other institutions, kick starting publication of a whole range of useful documents, and trying out a new team structure to help with internal organization. Being a part of Compass is a real pleasure!

Compass 2012 Fundraising Campaign and Social Hour

Jul 27, 2012   //   by Jacob   //   Blog, Compass News, Uncategorized  //  No Comments

Compass, as you know, is almost entirely a volunteer organization. It was started around 2006 by a group of idealistic graduate students (depending of course on how you define “started”), and it is still run by a dedicated group of grad students and undergrads. Furthermore – and this is critical – the current leaders are not just stewards for a set of programs that were handed down to us. One of our real strengths is that Compass is continually growing and developing as a program – we’re a collection of physicists and friends thereof who are united by a guiding set of principles. One of those principles is personal empowerment and self-determination.
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High School Outreach – Part 2

Dec 6, 2011   //   by Jenna Pinkham   //   Compass News, High School Outreach  //  2 Comments
Fall 2011 Shadow Day

Shadow Day lab tours. From left to right: Jenna Pinkham, Melina, Ariana, Mr. Towey, Dimitri Dounas-Frazer. Photo taken by Ana Aceves.

Introduction by Dimitri Dounas-Frazer

The Fall 2011 semester saw Compass delve into high school outreach for the first time. Compass partnered with the Making Waves Education Program for two events: (1) Shadow Day, where high school seniors followed Compass undergrads to their college classes, and (2) a  math fair called Radical Pi Day, which was described in an earlier post. This post will focus on Shadow Day.
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High school outreach – Part 1

Dec 5, 2011   //   by Jenna Pinkham   //   Compass News, High School Outreach  //  1 Comment
Radical Monte Pi-thons

Radical Monte π-thons. Left to right: Drew Edelberg, Yongchan Kim, Ana Aceves, Salman Kahn, and Dimitri Dounas-Frazer. Not shown: Marvin Alcantara and Phillip Merlo.

Introduction by Dimitri Dounas-Frazer, grad student

Last summer, I was hanging out with a friend of mine, Armando Franco. Armando teaches math for the Making Waves Education Program, an after-school program that supports urban, low-income children on their path towards gaining acceptance to college. We started talking about working together, and he suggested that Compass might be able to help Making Waves with two projects: (1) taking high school juniors and seniors to college-level math and science classes, and (2) designing events for their fall math fair, called Radical Pi Day. In this post, I’d like to share with you how Compass participated in Radical Pi Day.
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Writing About Science

Nov 29, 2011   //   by Harjit   //   Compass News, Physics Education  //  3 Comments

Over the past few months, I’ve been interested in writing about science viagra ou trouver. When I say science, I’m primarily talking about astronomy and physics. I would like to be able to talk about a concept and explain where it originates from and its basic elements to a layperson. Does anyone have any advice/suggestions on how I can get started and how far I can take my writing. Currently, I’m thinking about trying to explain the idea of dark matter, candidates for dark matter, and why we know it exists. I would appreciate any help! Thanks!

Compass 2011 Summer Program Videos

Aug 24, 2011   //   by Allen Rabinovich   //   Summer Program 2011  //  2 Comments

At the end of this year’s summer program, the students have made wonderful and humorous videos about the work they’ve done. We’d like to share them with you.

Oobleck Drop – Microscopic View of Oobleck:

OOBS – Oobleck Protection:

Fruit Ninjas – Oobleck Demonstration:

Cookin’ with Physics – Ooblek Applications

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWjVhMWGIlI"

A Story of Overwhelming Generosity

Aug 4, 2011   //   by JoshShiode   //   Compass News  //  2 Comments

Fundraising thermometer as of August 1. Less than $650 to go!

We’re one week from the end of the line, with the top of the thermometer square in our sights. If you told me three weeks ago we would raise over $4,400 in the first week of our fundraising campaign, or that we’d be seeing donations of $10s, $100s, even $1000s from all our parents, colleagues, and even undergraduate students(!), I would probably have applauded your optimism with a condescending pat on the back and a “Sure, we’ll see…” Today, the only word I can use to describe the campaign: overwhelming.
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Compass and The Coalition

Apr 11, 2011   //   by JoshShiode   //   Compass News  //  No Comments

In a back room of Stephens Hall, the Coalition meets to discuss its programs.

“Was it worth the free cheeseboard?” It’s a question I’ve been asked over and over again: while leaving a two and a half hour budget meeting or after struggling with the tenth revision of our mission statement. It’s true, I was enticed by the free cheeseboard pizza at the info session in Spring 2010 and never would have guessed how Compass would change my course through graduate school and my life as a whole.
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Compass goes to AAPT winter meeting!

Mar 6, 2011   //   by badr   //   Compass News, Compass Presentations, Physics Education  //  No Comments

Angie and I just got back from presenting a talk and poster at the Winter Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers in Jacksonville, Florida.  We presented the handsome poster you see below and a talk entitled “Teaching Physics Though Modeling the Physics Research Community” with the following abstract:

In this talk, we will discuss The Compass Project, a program we created at the University of California, Berkeley, five years ago to support physics students from all backgrounds.  Drawing on physics education research, we had two major goals in creating a two-week summer program for incoming freshman:  building community and helping students develop productive beliefs about what physics is and how to learn it.  This presentation will focus on a newly developed semester-long course that follows the summer program.  One focus of both the summer program and the course is developing the students capacity to see the world through physics models; students also hone their ability to communicate and collaborate productively with their peers.  We will discuss some of the successes and challenges of introducing college freshman to our model of a physics research community.

Pretty snazzy, huh? Read more >>

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