Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Circus Circus

Alex and I went to the Gamma Phi Circus last weekend, and it was a lot of fun! The acts were positively incredible. It was not uncommon to see stacks of people three high. There were people being twirled around on ropes in crazy positions, suspending themselves in silks, being catapulted onto one another, performing amazing juggling tricks, and doing some incredible trapeze stunts.

My favorite act was the catapults. One person would stand on one end of the catapult, and two more would jump on the other end. This sent the person flying through the air to land on someone's shoulders or a big chair on a stick. Yes, a big chair on a stick. In fact, the chair was so heavy they could not just pick it up- they had to catapult that in the air too! The final part of this act involved two catapults. When the two people jumped on the first catapult, it lunged one person onto the other, which in turn launch another person onto the first one, which launched the last person onto the big chair.

This was really an amazing show. The most amazing part of it was that they were all regular (I guess I'm using this term loosely) students at ISU! In fact, a girl in my research group in math was in an act with chinese yoyos. Alex and I both ate a bunch of circus food and enjoyed a fun thing to do on a Friday night.

In other news, I will be officially living in sin beginning this Saturday. I can't wait to leave my bug-infested student apartment for a great place that actually reminds me of the cabins at Hoot Owl Resort. If any Sherman or Musser feels like casting a couple lines with me, come down to Morton!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Yes, I am a nerd

Today was the annual undergraduate research symposium at ISU. This is a time when all us nerds get to show off all the work we've been doing this year and just how nerdy we really are. We make posters detailing our research and this year we gave a five minute speech about our projects.

My group's topic was grasshoppers, along with the rest of our class. We analyzed data collected from three different sites in Florida. We knew that at one of the sites, Shark Valley, the grasshopper's mass was dramatically different, and we were trying to determine when this happened in their lives.

We took the masses collected at the first three molts, when the grasshoppers shed their exoskeleton. Then we used statistics to determine which of these three molts were significantly different for the Shark Valley grasshoppers. The results were significantly different for all three molts. Therefore, these grasshoppers were born at a lower weight and remained there. The difference between the grasshoppers of the other two sites was not statistically significant.

When we graphed the means of the masses of all three sites during all three molts, we discovered a trend. All three sites had a very similar growth pattern, but the Shark Valley growth rates were a bit lower. Thus the masses started different and actually diverged as time went on. So basically Shark Valley grasshoppers were born smaller, and their growth rates increased the size difference between sites.

The growth rates were not significantly different for any of the sites, which makes sense. The masses showed a similar pattern for growth, and thus the growth rates should be similar. We were very happy with our results since they were consistent. They showed a very real trend, just as we had expected. The reason the grasshoppers from the other two sites (Ally Auto and Trail Lakes) were so similar is because these two sites are very close, while Shark Valley was further away.

Everyone enjoyed our poster, and the assistent dean even stopped by! She took a picture of us and our poster for a newsletter about technology. If I can get a copy of this I will! Overall a good day with great results.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Toga! Toga!

Well I have officially gone to my first toga party! Yep, the stereotypical college party... and I didn't experience it until junior year. It was fun, but awkward keeping the togas looking right. Animal House, here I come!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Student Teaching

Yesterday I met my cooperating teacher for student teaching at Peoria High School. He's a rather intimidating man standing at 6'8" and 300 pounds, but he's got a great sense of humor. Once he said, "I bet I'm the tallest Mexican you've ever seen!" I knew we'd get along great. It sounds like student teaching in such an area will be tough, but making it through will be a really great experience. He told me to practice in front of a mirror my yelling at students since I'm a girl with small stature.

I also met some of the other teachers, all of which were very warm and inviting. I learned that this is the oldest high school in Illinois and was built in 1856. There was a plaque in the hall that listed the 31 students of Peoria High that served in the Civil War. For such an old school in not such a nice neighborhood, I thought that it looked very good. I'm excited to student teach, especially with a guy that I really like.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fools!!

Well, I didn't get to play any great pranks, but I decided to honor one of the best pranks I've ever seen by reposting it in my blog. Alex and a couple friends plastered, painted, and put trim over a frat brother's door while he was taking a final. The only way you can tell there's anything weird is that the plaster and paint are not yet dry in this photo. Door? What door?