Recent Tutoring Session Reviews
"This morning the student studied the Solar System in his online home school curriculum, completing Unit 9 Lessons 6 through 9 and 11. Lesson 6 presented a lot of information where he and I took turns reading the online notes. Solar systems exist throughout the Universe -- planets orbiting and warmed by stars (suns). Our Solar System has 8 planets, moons, asteroids, comets and meteors, gas and dust, and the Sun which contains 99% of the mass of the system. The sun emits energy (including light and heat) that is necessary for life to exist. Looking back in history, Ptolemy of Greece proclaimed the Earth as the center of the Universe with the sun, stars and planets revolving around it (geocentric universe). He imagined complicated orbits called epicycles to explain reverse movements. In the mid-1500's Ptolemy's mistake was corrected by Copernicus who saw that the sun is the center of our celestial system (heliocentric). Kepler later discovered the planets orbit in ellipses, not perfect circles. The student then learned the Solar System formed from the clumping of gas and dust due to gravity; our sun formed when matter heated up enough to create nuclear fusion. The planets also formed by clumping of matter. 4.6 billion years ago, when the Earth formed, there was a period of major bombardment by huge and smaller meteors. The student looked at the Deep Field Survey picture taken by the Hubble Telescope, and learned that as far back in space and time as we can see, there are 10's of thousands of galaxies. Lesson 6 quiz score was 100% for multiple choice. Lesson 7 The Inner Planets described Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Earth is the largest and the only world we know of that has life. The inner planets are rocky with metal cores. Venus has an atmosphere of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid. He scored 83% on the Lesson 7 quiz for multiple choice. Lesson 8 The Outer Planets taught about Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. These planets are made mostly of hydrogen and helium -- the gas planets. If Jupiter were more massive and compact it could be a star! Between the inner and outer planets lies an asteroid belt. Saturn is the least dense of the planets with beautiful rings. Uranus spins on its side, with a horizontal axis. In 2006 Pluto lost its status as a planet; it is one of many "dwarf planets." Lesson 8 quiz score was 100% for multiple choice. Lesson 9 Seasons explained that the tilt of the Earth on its axis creates the seasons. Where the sun's light rays hit the Earth at an angle they are more spread out (cooler). He scored 100% for a 2-part quiz, online multiple choice and short answer in the workbook. The student completed Lesson 11 Asteroids, Comets and Meteors by filling in a chart in the workbook, comparing and contrasting these celestial objects. All orbit the sun, asteroids are irregularly shaped, comets have "tails" and meteors can hit the Earth (like the one that killed the dinosaurs). He scored 100% on a 2-question workbook quiz. The student likes learning about space and gets extra information from the Internet to support understanding. This session he saw pictures from the Hubble Telescope -- nebulae, remnants from a supernova. He was surprised to learn that the heavy elements that make up life (his body) -- carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, metals, etc. -- were forged in stars."
"Today we continued working on atomic and nuclear physics, a topic that we discussed in detail last time we met. He had since moved onto binding energies, half life, and mass defects and had three worksheets that he was to work out of for the next week or so. Although these worksheets were not due as homework yet, I thought it would be beneficial to get the student some practice in with these resources. There were many questions on calculating mass defects and binding energies of radioactive decays, conceptual questions about how a nucleus will decay, how long it will take, etc. I was very happy to see that he was flying through these worksheets and doing a great job with grasping the concepts in nuclear physics. I asked him how he felt about this material as compared to the other material he's learned and he said that it is much more understandable to him. Also, I recommended the study guide version of his textbook, and it turns out that he is finding it much easier to work with than the textbook. It seemed like his teacher goes too quickly through the material so I'm glad that he has a better resource to get help from other than his textbook. He expressed that he needs help in his IB standard-level math material so next week we will switch gears to work with this. He says so far, he needs help with logarithms, trigonometric identities and other pre-calculus based material."
"We studied electric field, magnetism, and the right hand rule. The student has improved tremendously. She understand the material and feels more confident about it."
"The student is continuing study evolution in process. She has a unit test this week, and is still waiting for her most recent grade report, but is confident that she will pass the class. She completed a homework assignment and took additional notes for later reference. Again, we looked at the objectives in the text, which specified describing the differences between different patterns in the evolution of various species. We made a table to compare/contrast different traits and also used the table to support understanding of vocabulary. We took turns reading aloud and summarizing sections. With continued practice, I am confident that the student will do great."
"We reviewed chapter 14 and 15 for the student's upcoming exam. Ch 14 covered reaction kinetics and activation energies. Ch 15 covered chemical equilibrium. He expressed understanding of these topics."
"We covered some biochemistry topics on DNA and RNA structure, the enzymes and proteins involved in DNA replication, transcription, and translation, mutations, and the differences among fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. The student understood the majority of the material very well, but had some issues with the newer vocabulary terms and needed an alternative definition. We talked about study skills for reviewing the vocabulary terms and the next sessions before her exams. She said she was happy with how she did on her last exam on amino acid synthesis. She feels more prepared for her exam tomorrow."