Psychology would seem, at first look, to be one of the sciences with the least involvement with mathematics. After all, psychology is all about the mind, all about people – what does mathematics have to do with that?

Well, as it turns out, a lot! The main reason is that mathematics is of use, is that psychology has one aspect that most people don’t consider. Most think of psychology as relating to a single person, but there is one other consideration. We also care about how groups respond, and **how the individual compares to the group.**

To this end, we need a simple way to describe groups, so we can compare them to each other and to the individual. The best way to do this reliably is to use mathematics – and we are interested in two particular concepts – the idea of what the average value of a group is, and the idea of how much the group is distributed.

In this post, I will cover the basic mathematics you will need to describe these concepts – which you will need for your Empirical Research Activity (ERA) report that is due at the end of term 4. The mathematics is *not* difficult, and you will be able to the majority of it on your computer, by using microsoft excel (or a similar piece of software).

So, let’s hit the concepts then. Here they are, with the formal language we use to describe them:

1. Measures of Central Tendency: otherwise known as the average, there are three possible choices: Mean, Median & Mode. We are most interested in the mean. You are probably familiar with these from Maths in years 8 and 9.

2. Measures of Spread: these are probably newer to you, but you may have done them recently. The ones we are interested in are Interquartile range and standard deviation.

The first thing you need to do is access the file with the results from our Perceptions of Mental Health survey. They are stored on a google drive accessible to you with your Melba Login. Here is the link: ERA Files.

The mathematics and techniques of calculating the average (“mean”) and spread (“standard deviation”) are covered in this video.

I will explain more after I know some of you have read this far, and watched the video, I will update this post with more information after six students have commented on this post. It’ll be interesting to see who comments, and how long it takes…

I hope you’re enjoying your holidays and making progress on your folio project.

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The main purpose of this unit is to help you understand how we can use different types of radiation and other technologies to obtain information about the internal structures of objects or organisms that are not transparent to visible light.

When we have the ability to see into objects, it gives information that can be used to guide other choices – from determining the safety of a bridge (looking for microfractures in beams), to the integrity of a jet turbine or airscrew (checking to see for weaknesses that may result in catastrophic failure) or to diagnose medical conditions prior to surgery.

Your task for this unit is to select one of the following medical physics technology, and explain the basic physics behind what form of energy is used (define the type), how it is generated (if appropriate), how it interacts with material objects (how it is affected by passing through matter), how it is received (how the energy is collected and transformed so that the internal structure of what it passed through is made visible). You also need to discuss the advantages (what it allows the user to do) and disadvantages (what risks or dangers are inherent in the used of the technology).

Here are the list of available technologies.

- Endoscopes
- Ultrasound
- X-rays
- CT scans
- PET scans
- MRI scans
- Nuclear Imaging
- Radiation Therapy
- Thermography
- Laser treatment

This is a matter of first come, first served, so post your selection in the comments below. Everyone must select a different technology. Here is a link to the project sheet, which also includes the marking criteria (Medical Physics Presentation Sheet 2013).

There are two other posts on this blog, from prior years that may provide some help to you (1, 2).

You are required to provide an online response to this, and some level of interactivity is expected. The best option for this is to develop a simple web page, perhaps through Wix. Youtube is an obvious choice (take advantage of annotations linking to other resources for interactivity), but something like Digital Films or Wideo or Voki or Screencast-o-matic would offer other technology.

Good luck!

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Clips & documentary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1wAemvxNaM&list=PLX6h0nhwPt5pNaEk3CaVB8WrVmSkVbIe7

Script & useful quotes (If you want top grades, I expect you to find your own relevant quotes)

http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/c/coach-carter-script-transcript.html

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0393162/quotes

See you in class.

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That’s Area of Study One, Unit Four, Down! Now it’s up to you to make sure it stays down for the count, and that you’ve knocked it out conclusively – time for some preparation, a bit of (mental) exercise before final round, the Assessment task.

Some mood music, Maestro, Please: Link

OK, back to the serious stuff. Each of you are working on a common resource to share for the summary of this area of study, but you must also be preparing your own summary sheet (one page, one side) to be used for this task, and then revised for the next and saved for the final examination. Those resources are to be ready for distribution via the Melba Physics page on Friday, so everyone has a chance to use them over the weekend.

The first assessment task is a straight forward test – we have a data analysis task to follow. You know the nature of the questions we discussed in class, but here is a link to the cover pages and formula sheet for the task. There are also links to files that we used in class here (1, 2). Make the most of them – they will help you prepare if you make sure that what you are doing is focused so that you ace this task.

I hope you have all logged into Bored of Studies by now – there are essential resources in their to make your job easier. Remember that nothing will replace your own personal effort in getting prepared – no resource you can find or purchase will result in increasing your understanding, skill or mastery of the topic without hard effort on your part, but the work that others have done can help you make your own resources better, and your own study efforts more effective.

Finally, here are some screencasts about the current Area of Study that may help you develop your understanding.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYk1timNu9k&list=PL6ZuKwQti_aGiVVRsTO-mms_cEf3-Ze0S

See you in Class!

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Don’t start crying – it’s not about emotion, its all about motion. On second thoughts, you might want to cry after all – this unit we start pulling out the maths, and we just WON’T STOP! There is a lot to get done, and less time to do it in, but we’ve already talked about how much harder you are going to have to work this semester, so I won’t go into that any further.

The important thing to remember, when we are solving equations or drawing graphs is that PHYSICS IS NOT A MATHEMATICAL SUBJECT! Mathematics may be one of the techniques we use to model, analyse or predict what will happen in a situation, but the important thing is the concepts and theories underneath – you must understand the ideas below the mathematics. This is why the major task I have assigned to you so far is all about your “reading record”, not a list of questions. Keep in mind you must try and understand the “why” before you start analysing the “how” with the formulas.

This is not to say that you can ignore the mathematical components -NO! But it is equally important that you make sure that you understand both parts of the science – the Mathematical (data, formulas, graphs and equations) and the Conceptual (Theories, Laws and explanations).

I have a few posts previously about this topic you are expected to read them and look at the resources (1, 2, 3, 4) – note that there is some useful information in comments too. The posts that I have linked to give you almost all the information you need on the xuvat formulas, but what we need to discuss is graphing – because you must be able to do this, verbally (describe what is happening), graphically (interpret and plot related graphs) and mathematically (calculating gradients, areas and connection to formulas). This will take a lot of time, so you need to set aside some time to get through the following resources.

First, there are a series of videos, almost an hour long in total. You need to watch two of these each night for a week. Here is the link.

Second I have linked to a series of four (4!) resources that explore and explain graphing. I expect you to each browse all five resources, and then pick two to work through in detail. I will expect you to give thoughtful considered reasons in the comments explaining your choice. Here are the links to the resources: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Thirdly, don’t forget your “Tell me a story” and “Driving to Hilary’s” work requirements!

See you in class!

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This semester, we will be studying an introduction to psychology – we will be looking at what psychology is, what sort of jobs are available in psychology, how to conduct research in psychology and a few of the more interesting types of psychological specialisations.

There will be a lot of fun this semester, but also a lot of work. Please talk to the students of last semester’s class if you think it will be easy – it isn’t and you will need to be working hard to succeed!

The human brain is an amazing thing – the picture just above is an example – are there 12 or 13 children shown in the picture – it’s a trick, but it does show you how easy it is to trick your brain.

Here is another example: A card trick. Watch the movie below, and think about what happened.

When did you spot the changes? What do you think it tells you about how your brain is responding to input?

What about this time? When did you see it?

These videos are also available on the student shared drive.

Finally, I want you to complete the following online personality test. At the end, you will get a “personal DNA” strip like this one (this one is mine)

Once you have your own, you *must* make a comment on this post below, using your real name. In you comment, you must do the following:

1) Say why you chose psychology as an elective, including saying what you like about psychology, and what you hope to learn.

2) What did you see in the two videos – what does it tell you about the way you observe the world around you?

3) Embed your personal DNA strip, and comment on what you think about whether it suits you, and what you think about the test

4) Link to one other “interesting” thing that you want to share with the class (PG only!)

See you in class!

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More to come…

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Logarithms are a frustrating function – the inverse of exponential functions, they are infuriatingly irritating to deal with. But logarithms are a critical part of applied mathematics, and have been a critical tool in the mathematical kit since the dawn of mathematics (Which was when Ugg the caveman wondered how many rocks he had).

Logarithms are what you get when you find what power you must raise ten to to get another number.

The most fascinating part of history is the role of logarithms in the development of arithmetic methods. The simplest aspect is that it is simpler (and less error prone) to add instead of multiplying, so if you find the logarithm of two different numbers, the product of those numbers is equal to the sum of the logarithms. This meant, that in the age before calculators or computers, the process of multiplication was sped up and simplified by using a table of logarithms to do all calculations.

But logarithms are more than just an outdated way of speeding up arithmetic calculations – they are an important tool in graphing. By using a logarithmic scale on one or more axes, you can produce graphs that cover a broad range of numbers by compressing the axis. The graph to the left is an example of this – in one simple picture it presents the entirety of the universe – if this were linear scale, either the small items would be invisible, or the the graph would have to be so large that it is useless.

But the power of logarithmic algebra is the fact that logarithmic and exponential functions are inverses of each other. This means that each can be used to “undo” each other and arrive at a numerical solution for an expression. Equations such as exponential growth or decay, or logarithmic power can be reduced to solvable forms.

A review of the rules of logarithms can be found at this website; you should make yourself familiar with them, and transfer them to your bound reference – you never know when you might need them.

You will be expected to graph and interpret logarithmic functions; while your text book gives you some great practice activities, my favoured site for explanations of mathematical concepts is PurpleMaths – here is the link to their section on graphing logarithmic functions.

I have previously written a companion post to this one – a section on exponential functions and their relations to other interesting mathematical patterns.

You’ll also need to check out the following links (some of them require free registration). These websites give excellent support and may help you understand concepts “explained” in your text. (2, 3).

Since the school rules have changed to allow you to use your mp3 players in class, you might as well make them productive – try these podcasts: Math According to Mike, MathCast Central and Math Analysis.

Finally, a video to scar you emotionally so you can never forget logarithms again:

And two more that are slightly more helpful – if less memorable (1, 2)

Supporting notes are here!

See you in class.

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OK, enough jokes – what we are doing with this post is going beyond the prior posts on electric circuit theory, and into component analysis. We have already looked at Ohm’s Law, Kirchoff’s Laws, and Thevenin’s Law – these are all based on the simple concept of simple “ohmic components”. Such circuits are relatively simple to solve (except like ones to left, and this one) – you use the rules of parallel and serial circuit elements to simplify the problem, and solve using Ohm’s Law.

Some components are not that easy – they don’t follow the simple patterns of ohm’s law. These devices do not have a constant resistance for a variety of applied voltages – their characteristic Voltage – Current graphs show a curve, and this is something you must be able to describe, analyse and discuss.

Watch these videos:

Use the following simulator to familiarise yourself with and explore these phenomena.

New Materials:

Notes for adding to during our class discussion (VU3ElecPhotStudentNotes) (scary 47 pages! Don’t print it all!)

See you in class!

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Ah damn – I can’t come up with a pun for voltage. I’m sure one of you can – If I groan or laugh I will swear off bad puns in class for a week. That should be enough of an incentive for all of you!

Well, this post is mainly a link to a prior post, and an updated list of videos. I will add a link to some class notes shortly, but here are the two main links you need:

1: Post on Circuit Analysis. 2: Updated list of youtube videos.

See you all in class!

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