Emotional Words

August 10, 2016

The NRC Word-Emotion Association Lexicon (aka EmoLex) associates a long list of english words with their emotional connotations. It’s stored as a large text file, which should make it easy for my programming students to use to analyse texts.

David Robinson used this database to help distinguish tweets sent by Donald Trump from those sent by his staff (all on the same twitter account).

Emotional sentiment of Donald Trump's Twitter feed.  From Variance Explained

Emotional sentiment of Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. From Variance Explained

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2016. Emotional Words, Retrieved May 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Vpython on the Web with Glowscript

February 25, 2016

Using glowscript.org, we can now put vpython programs online. Here’s a first shot of the coil program:

http://www.glowscript.org/#/user/lurbano/folder/Private/program/magnet-coil.py

Moving the magnet through a wire coil creates an electric current in the wire.

Moving the magnet through a wire coil creates an electric current in the wire.

Some changes to the standard vpython language must be used and there are some limitations, but it seems to work.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2016. Vpython on the Web with Glowscript, Retrieved May 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Coding Online on the Coding Ground

August 18, 2015

For some of my students with devices like Chromebooks, it has been a little challenging finding ways for them to do coding without a simple, built-in interpreter app. One interim option that I’ve found, and like quite a bit is the TutorialsPoint Coding Ground, which has online interfaces for quite a number of languages that are great for testing small programs, including Python.

Screen capture of  Python coding at Tutorial Point's Coding Ground.

Screen capture of Python coding at Tutorial Point’s Coding Ground.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2015. Coding Online on the Coding Ground, Retrieved May 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

How to Write a Web Page from Scratch

March 14, 2015

<html>
	<head>
	
	</head>
	
	<body>
	
	</body>
</html>

I gave a quick introduction to writing HTML web pages over the last interim. The basic outline of a web page can be seen above (but there’s no content in there, so if you tried this file in a web browser you’d get a blank page). Everything is set between tags. The open html tag (<html>) starts the document, and the close html tag (</html>) ends it.

The head section (<head>) holds the information needed to set up the page, while the body section (<body>) holds the stuff that’s actually on the page.

For example, if I wanted to create a heading and a paragraph of text, I would just put it in the body, like so:

<html>
	<head>
	
	</head>
	
	<body>
		<h1>My Heading Here</h1>

		This is my text.
	
	</body>
</html>

Note that the heading is placed between h1 tags. And the result should look like this:

Basic webpage.

Basic webpage.

Now save this file as an html file, which means save it as a plain text file using a .html extension (e.g. test.html) and open the file in a browser.

Note on Editors: I’ve found that the best way to do this is by using a simple coding editor. I recommend my students use GEdit on Linux, Smultron (free version here) or GEdit on Mac, and Notepad++ on Windows. You don’t want to use something like Microsoft Word, because complex word processing software like it, LiberOffice and Pages need to save a lot of other information about the files as well (like the font style, who created the file etc.).

CSS Styling

But we typically don’t want something so plain, so we’ll style our heading using CSS. Usually, we’ll want all of our headings to be the same so we set up a style to make all of our headings blue. So we’ll add a styling section to our header like so:

<html>
	<head>
	
		<style type="text/css">
			h1 { color: blue; }
		</style>	
		
	</head>
	
	<body>
	
		<h1>My Heading Here</h1>
		
		This is my text.
	
	</body>
</html>

Which gives:

Styling the heading.

Styling the heading.

There are a few named colors like blue, but if you want more freedom, you can use the hexadecimal color codes like “#A3319F” to give a kind of purple color (hexadecimals are numbers in base 16).

DIV’s to Divide

Finally, we’ll often want pages with separate blocks of information, so let’s make a little column for our heading and paragraph. We’ll make the background yellowish, put a border around it, and give it a set width.

To do this we’ll place our heading and paragraph into a DIV tag, which does not do anything but encapsulate the part of the web page we want into sections.

<html>
	<head>
	
		<style type="text/css">
			h1 { color: blue; }
		</style>	
		
	</head>
	
	<body>
		<div id="section1">
			<h1>My Heading Here</h1>
		
			This is my text.
		</div>
	</body>
</html>

Note that I’ve given the div tag an id (“section1), this is so that I can refer to that section only in the styling section using “#section”:

<html>
	<head>
	
		<style type="text/css">
			h1 { color: blue; }
			
			#section1 {
				background-color: #A2A82D;
				border: solid black 2px;
				width: 400px;
			}
		</style>	
		
	</head>
	
	<body>
		<div id="section1">
			<h1>My Heading Here</h1>
		
			This is my text.
		</div>
	</body>
</html>

to give:

More styling.

More styling.

Unleashed

With that introduction, I set students loose to make their own web pages. They had to make two page, both linking to the other, and one of them being an “About Me” page.

There are lots of places on line to find out what HTML tags and CSS styles are available and how to use them, so my goal was to introduce students to the language they needed to know.

One issue that came up was the use of copyrighted images. Current adolescents see everything online as part of a sharing culture–most of my students for this lesson had Pintrest accounts–and it took some explanation for them to understand why they should not use that cute gif of a bunny eating a slice of pizza without getting permission from the author (or at least finding out if the artwork was free to use).

Finally, I did do a quick intro on how to using JavaScript (with Jquery) to make their pages more interactive, but given that we only had two days for this project, that was pushing things a little too far.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2015. How to Write a Web Page from Scratch, Retrieved May 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Limiting Chemical Reactions

January 1, 2015

Figuring out the limiting reactant in a chemical reaction integrates many of the basic chemistry concepts including: unit conversions from moles to mass and vice versa; the meaning of chemical formulas; and understanding the stoichiometry of chemical reactions. So, since we’ll need a number of these, I wrote a python program to help me design the questions (and figure out the answers).

Program examples come zipped because they require the program file and the elements_database.py library:

Baking Powder and Vinegar (Common Molecules)

Limiting_component-Common.py: This has the baking powder and vinegar reaction limited by 5 g of baking soda. It’s nice because it uses a few pre-defined “common molecules” (which are defined in the elements_database.py library.

You enter the reactants and products and the program checks if the reaction is balanced, then calculates the moles and masses based on the limiting component, and finally double checks to make sure the reaction is mass balanced.

Limiting_component-Common.py

from elements_database import *
import sys

print "LIMITING REACTANT PROGRAM"
print 
print "  Determines the needed mass and moles of reactants and products if reaction is limited by one of the components"

c = common_molecules()

'''Create Reaction'''
rxn = reaction()
# Add reactants (and products)
#   Use rxn.add_reactant(molecule[, stoichiometry])
#       molecule: from molecule class in elements_database
#       stoichiometry: integer number
rxn.add_reactant(c.baking_soda,1)
rxn.add_reactant(c.hydrochloric_acid,1)
rxn.add_product(c.carbon_dioxide)
rxn.add_product(c.water, 1)
rxn.add_product(c.salt)

'''Print out the reaction'''
print 
print "Chemical Formula"
print "  " + rxn.print_reaction()
print 

'''Check if reaction is balanced'''
balanced = rxn.check_for_balance(printout=True)

'''Calculate limits of reaction'''
if balanced:
    rxn.limited_by_mass(c.baking_soda, 5, printout=True)

Outputs results in the Results table (using scientific notation):

LIMITING REACTANT PROGRAM

  Determines the needed mass and moles of reactants and products if reaction is limited by one of the components

Chemical Formula
  NaHCO3 + HCl  --> CO2 + H2O + NaCl 

Check for balance
 --------------------------------------------- 
| Element | Reactants | Products | Difference |
 --------------------------------------------- 
|   Na    |    1      |    -1    |     0      |
|   H     |    2      |    -2    |     0      |
|   C     |    1      |    -1    |     0      |
|   O     |    3      |    -3    |     0      |
|   Cl    |    1      |    -1    |     0      |
 --------------------------------------------- 
Balance is:  True

Given: Limiting component is 5 g of NaHCO3.
  Molar mass = 84.00676928
  Moles of NaHCO3 = 0.0595190130849

 Results
   ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
  | Molecule | Stoich.*| Molar Mass (g) | Moles req. |    Mass (g)   |
   ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
  |NaHCO3    |    1    |    84.0068     |  5.952e-02 |   5.000e+00   |
  |HCl       |    1    |    36.4602     |  5.952e-02 |   2.170e+00   |
  |CO2       |    -1   |    44.0096     |  5.952e-02 |   2.619e+00   |
  |H2O       |    -1   |    18.0156     |  5.952e-02 |   1.072e+00   |
  |NaCl      |    -1   |    58.4418     |  5.952e-02 |   3.478e+00   |
   ------------------------------------------------------------------ 
 * negative stoichiometry means the component is a product

  Final Check: Confirm Mass balance: 
     Reactants:    7.1701 g 
     Products:    -7.1701 g 
     --------------------------
          =      0.0000 g 
     --------------------------

General Example

If not using the common molecules database, you need to define the components in the reaction as molecules yourself. This example reacts magnesium sulfate and sodium hydroxide, and limits the reaction with 20 g of magnesium sulfate.

Limiting_component-General.zip

The main file is:

Chem_Exam-limiting.py

from elements_database import *
import sys

print "LIMITING REACTANT PROGRAM"
print 
print "  Determines the needed mass and moles of reactants and products if reaction is limited by one of the components"

# create reaction

rxn2 = reaction()
# Add reactants (and products)
#   Use rxn.add_reactant(molecule[, stoichiometry])
#       molecule: from molecule class in elements_database
#       stoichiometry: integer number
rxn2.add_reactant(molecule("Mg:1,S:1,O:4"))
rxn2.add_reactant(molecule("Na:1,O:1,H:1"), 2)
rxn2.add_product(molecule("Mg:1,O:2,H:2"))
rxn2.add_product(molecule("Na:2,S:1,O:4"))

'''Print out the reaction'''
print 
print "Chemical Formula"
print "  " + rxn2.print_reaction()
print 

'''Check if reaction is balanced'''
balanced = rxn2.check_for_balance(printout=True)

'''Calculate limits of reaction'''
if balanced:
    rxn2.limited_by_mass(molecule("Mg:1,S:1,O:4"), 20, True)

# print out masses
print "Masses Involved in Reaction"
print "  Reactants:"
for i in rxn2.reactants:
    #print "rxn", i
    print "    {m}: {g} g".format(m=i.molecule.print_formula().ljust(10), g=i.mass)
print "  Products:"
for i in rxn2.products:
    #print "rxn", i
    print "    {m}: {g} g".format(m=i.molecule.print_formula().ljust(10), g=-i.mass)

This program is slightly different from the common molecules example in that, at the end, it prints out masses calculated in a more easily readable format in addition to the other data.

Masses Involved in Reaction
  Reactants:
    MgSO4     : 20.0 g
    NaOH      : 13.2919931774 g
  Products:
    MgO2H2    : 9.69066512026 g
    Na2SO4    : 23.6013280571 g

When I have some time I’ll convert this to JavaScript like the molecular mass example.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2015. Limiting Chemical Reactions, Retrieved May 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Datalogging with the Arduino

July 26, 2014

30 seconds of temperature data recorded using the Arduino (over the serial port).

30 seconds of temperature data recorded using the Arduino (over the serial port).

I wired a temperature sensor to my Arduino as part of the third project in the Arduino Projects Book. The project has the Arduino send the data to the serial port where the Arduino program (IDE) can show it. This data would be most useful to me, however, if it could be logged in a plain text file for data analysis. However, it’s a little annoying that there isn’t an easy way to save the data output by the Arduino.

So, I needed to use the terminal program “cat” to look at what was coming across the serial port. First I had to look up which port the Arduino was connected to in the Tools menu of the Arduino IDE: since I’m on a Mac, running OSX, this turned out to be something like /dev/cu.usbmodem411. (I could have looked this up by listing the contents of the /dev/ directory and then looking for anything connected to the usbmodem). To see the data I used:

> cat /dev/cu.usbmodem411 

To actually save the data I directed the output of the cat command to the file data-log.txt:

> cat /dev/cu.usbmodem411 > data-log.txt

The contents of the file looked like this:

T25.68
6003,25.68
7504,25.68
Time (milliseconds), Temperature (deg. C) 
0,25.20
1501,25.68
3002,25.68
4502,25.68
6003,26.66
7504,28.12
9006,30.08
10335,32.03
11663,33.98
12992,35.45
14321,36.91
15650,38.38
16979,39.84
18309,41.31
19559,42.77
20810,43.75
22062,42.77
23313,41.31
24563,40.82
25815,39.36
27144,38.87
28473,37.89
29802,37.40
31131,36.91
32459,35.94
33788,35.45
35118,35.45
36447,34.96
37776,34.47
39105,33.98
40434,33.98
41763,33.50
43091,33.01
44421,33.01
45750,33.01
47079,32.52
48408,32.52
49737,32.52
51066,32.03
52396,31.54
53724,31.54

I’m not sure what’s the deal with the first three lines, but if you ignore them you see the column headers (Time and Temperature) and then the time (in milliseconds) and temperature data) in a nice comma delimited format.

The Arduino program (sketch) that produced this output was:

const int T_sensor_Pin = A0;
const float baselineTemp = 20.0;
const int outPin = 4;

void setup(){
  
  Serial.begin(9600);
  pinMode(outPin, OUTPUT);
  
  Serial.println("Time (milliseconds), Temperature (deg. C) ");

}

void loop(){
  int T_sensor_Val = analogRead(T_sensor_Pin);
  
  float T_sensor_Voltage = (T_sensor_Val * 5.0)/1024.0;
  
  float T = (T_sensor_Voltage - 0.5) * 100;
  float T_F = (T * 1.8) +32.0;
  
  Serial.print(millis());
  Serial.print(",");
  Serial.println(T); 

  delay(1500);
  
}

Alternative Methods of Saving Data

Python

Based on the same Arduino sketch, you can write a Python program to read the data. This method enables you to use the data directly with VPython for visualization.

First you need to install the pySerial library (pySerial). Then you can read the serial data using:

data-log.py

import serial

ser = serial.Serial('/dev/cu.usbmodem411', 9600)

while True:
    print ser.readline()

CoolTerm

You can also use CoolTerm to save the serial data (see directions on how).

An SD Card

Another alternative, is to get a shield that can hold an SD card (SparkFun and Adafruit have ones for less than $20) and write to that.

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. Datalogging with the Arduino, Retrieved May 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

Arduino for Beginners

July 22, 2014

Arduino UNO connected to a breadboard from the starter kit.

Arduino UNO connected to a breadboard from the starter kit.

I’ve been avoiding working with the Arduino microcontrollers because I’d prefer to be able to program in Python with the Raspberry Pi (for example). However, since the 3d printer we just built this summer uses an Arduino for a brain, I broke down and picked up the Arduino Starter Kit (via Adafruit).

The Arduino Projects Book is an excellent resource for the beginner.

The Arduino Projects Book is an excellent resource for the beginner.

What I liked most about the Starter Kit most is the Arduino Projects Book that comes with it. It’s a wonderful introduction to circuits, electronics, circuit diagrams, and microcontrollers at the beginners level. If I offer an Arduino elective, I’ll use it as a textbook. Indeed, I’ll probably use bits of it as a reference when I teach circuits in middle school and Advanced Physics.

As for the programming, the basics, at least, are pretty straightforward. I got a blinking LED controlled by a switch input up an running pretty quickly. The code requires two loops, one to set up the inputs and the output, and a loop for the program to follow. The code below has a blinking light that’s controlled via pin 4, but changes to a solid light when the switch is pressed (the input for the switch is pin 2). The wiring for the circuit is shown in the picture at the top of the page.

blink_circuit

int switchOn = 0;

void setup(){
  pinMode(2, INPUT);
  pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
}

void loop(){
  switchOn = digitalRead(2);
  
  if (switchOn == HIGH) {
    digitalWrite(4, HIGH);
  } else {
    digitalWrite(4, LOW);
    delay(500);
    digitalWrite(4, HIGH);
    delay(200); 
  }
  
}

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. Arduino for Beginners, Retrieved May 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

A First Program

July 10, 2014

Working on algebra over the summer, we tried a little programming. This is O’s first program, which gives the chirp rate of crickets based on the temperature.

t = float(raw_input('enter temperature> '))

n=4*t-160
print "number of chirps=", n
print "t=", t

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2014. A First Program, Retrieved May 25th, 2017, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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