Thursday, July 10, 2014

IB Physics Graphing Template for the 2016 Syllabus

Update: The New IB Physics Graphing Template for the 2016+ Syllabus is out! Follow this link to find out more!

This is a work in progress so stay tuned for updates, but I've been re-working the physics graph template for the new requirements in the 2016 Physics Syllabus. The major change is that max and min slope lines now need to consider all data, not just the first and last point.

You can download the updated version here but there are still a few issues (especially when you have data on the negative side of the x-axis). I'll be updating the file soon.

Largest Triangle Between Sine and Cosine

I saw an interesting question posted online. The author wanted to know what the largest triangle that would fit between a graph of y = sin(x) and y = cos(x) would be.

What's the largest triangle that will fit between the blue and green lines?
I haven't been able to come up with an exact solution using geometry or algebra; if you can do it, I'd like to hear how. Instead I made a tool in excel which animates the process of finding an approximation of the solution by exhaustion:

The program searches through all the different triangles to find the largest
If you'd like to have a peek at which triangle is the biggest you can download the excel file here.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Autophile: Automatically Sort Files into Folder by Name

I like to mark my student's reports electronically rather than mark paper copies. I type faster than I write and I can copy/paste verbose comments when students do similar things. The major drawback is getting the work back to the students; it's always a painstaking process to manipulate each file into an email or a folder. To reduce that grunt-work I wrote a program that will move files into folders with similar names. I call it Autophile.

The idea is to get your students to put their student ID in the file name so that the software can sort each student's work into their own folder on the network drive. Choose the files you want to sort, select the folders you want to sort them into, adjust settings, and click "Sort"

A confirmation window will pop up telling you where the program thinks each file should go. You can make adjustments or cancel the process. Clicking "Apply Sort" will move the files.

Confirmation Window
The program computes the best match between folder and file by computing something called the Damerau–Levenshtein distance. Basically, it's the number of letters you would have to substitute, remove, insert, or swap to make a portion of the file name look like the folder name.

I was having problems with very short folder names getting picked up as the best match so I modified the result a little bit to favor longer, less accurate matches over shorter accurate matches. I weighted the D-L distance at 100% and the match length at 90% when doing the comparison. For example, I wanted to favor a match that was 5 letters long with one letter wrong over a match that was 3 letters wrong with no errors.

You can download the program here or the source code here.