Track Meet Management: RaceTab &

My school had the privilege of hosting our parish track meet last week.  I used a combination of the website and RaceTab software to manage entries, seed heats, score, and post results.  Each one has a few quirks, but as a whole, they worked very well. is a great resource for track athletes and coaches.  It’s an excellent tool for posting times/distances and tracking athletes’ progress.  Many meets I attend upload their meet results, and they appear automatically for my athletes.  I can enter other meets manually.

For hosting a meet, which you can do for free (though becoming a site supporter was only $45/year and grants you access to many features unavailable to free users).  I also considered using Direct Athletics to collect entries for the meet, but they charge 0.50 cents per athlete (when I asked if he meant 50 cents or half-a-cent, they guy just repeated that it costs 0.50 cents — I really don’t think he knows what that means).  So, not wanting to engage in a big debate when I received a bill for $100 instead of $1, I went with    Coaches register at and submit entries to each event.  Definitely beats what we’ve done in the past, which is to receive FAXES (um, it’s 2014, let’s move past the fax) of barely legible hand-written names for entries.

The majority of the visiting coaches don’t use, so they all had to create (free) accounts.  It does take some time once you create your account to be approved and assigned to your school, especially if there’s already a coach assigned to that team from previous years.  So, those coaches that waited until the last minute ran into an obstacle there, but they were all able to submit entries fine.  Having all the times and distances right there for seeding was excellent.

Once entries were in, I could just download them to my meet management software.  They offer many different download formats, and it worked flawlessly.  When the meet was over last night, I just exported the results from RaceTab and uploaded them to  Now, the results are available online for anyone interested, and visiting coaches have them at their disposal.  Now, when I go to register for my next meet, will use their best marks for their entries.


In the past, I’d just used an Excel spreadsheet to do results and scoring, which worked well.  But, since offers the RaceTab format to download entries, I thought I’d try it, since RaceTab is free to download and use.  It was painless to import entries.  Then, seeding heats and flights wasn’t bad, once I figured out what all the preferences and options meant.  I was able to get a printout of events, heats, entries, etc. to coaches the morning of the meet so they could come ready with any errors or scratches.

During the meet, all timing was done by hand, so we manually entered results.  With one computer, we were able to keep up (there were only 6 schools, so not a huge job).  I recruited some of my students to help enter times and distances in the computer.  I had to leave the press box to handle lots of other issues at the meet, but they managed to enter everything while I was gone with about 5 minutes of training.  A couple lessons learned:

  • On high jump or pole vault where ties were broken by number of missed attempts, you must enter places by hand – don’t click “Score” or it will change them back to a tie.
  • When we had some athletes finish but we only timed the top 6 places, RaceTab was doing something weird by placing those “no-time” runners first… Still not sure why.  But, if you left them blank it scratched them.  Not sure how to enter that someone finished but wasn’t timed.
  • My students weren’t terribly conscious of the difference between 1:55:33 and 1:55.33 (decimal instead of colon).  Coaches’ entries also had this problem occasionally.  I think possibly RaceTab or should integrate some validation–there’s no way an 800m run would take almost 2 hours…  However, I understand there are a huge number of events and variations therein with cross country, road races, 5Ks, 10Ks, indoor track, etc. that these programs are used for, so I guess for the time being we just have to be careful about how we input data.

RaceTab calculated team scores on-the-fly, so the minute the last event finished we had team scores and places ready to go.  I exported a results report to send to our media outlets.  And I was able to export a set of results to upload back into

Definitely a positive experience for me. removed many of the headaches of receiving entries and sending out results and performances. RaceTab, once entries were imported, made seeding quick and required minimal training for my volunteers to learn to use.

Integrating Math, Science, and the Common Core into Career & Technical Education

On December 12, 2013, I had the pleasure of leading St. Landry Parish Career & Tech Teachers in a workshop on how to integrate math and science across the curriculum.  Here, I’ll post links to resources referenced in the presentation.

Performance Tasks

Project-Based Learning


Integrating CCSS Math & ELA Practices in Science

On November 21, 2013, I had the pleasure of leading a professional development workshop for St. Landry Parish teachers on integrating common core math and ELA into our science classes.  Here you will find my presentation and links to the resources referenced in the presentation.

 Project-Based Learning Resources

Whiteboarding Resources

Graphing Calculator Alternatives

Below are a set of alternatives to a TI-84 graphing calculator.  Whether you have a computer, iPhone, iPad, or Android device, there are many options for you.


Desmos – this can do some pretty cool things.  Check it out.

Windows PC Computer

Follow these instructions to install Wabbit-emu, a TI-84 calculator emulator. (Instructions courtesy of Brockport Central School District).


None of these have been tested by me personally, but the reviews are solid:

Free Graphing Calculator (free)

Quick Graph: Your Scientific Graphing Calculator (free)


Algeo Graphing Calculator (free)

Wabbit Emu (app) TI-84+ emulator, requires a calculator ROM file

Andie Graph (another TI-83 emulator, but requires some work to set up)

Mac Computer

See Mr. Cheng’s site for instructions

Wall-Size Periodic Table

I’ve produced a printable periodic table for posting on the wall in my classroom (updated April 2017). I thought other teachers might wish to do the same, so I’m making it available here.

This version is designed to be printed in color on 4×6 photo paper (I chose matte finish for less glare, but glossy might work too).  I had mine printed at Amazon Prints for about $11.00, though many local or chain shops may have special deals that would allow you to get this printed pretty cheaply. Each individual element block is then taped together on the back or glued onto a backing material. The final dimensions are about 6 feet wide and 3-4 feet tall.

The periodic table features include:

  • Element name, symbol, atomic number, and atomic mass
    • Includes updated names and symbols adopted by IUPAC through 2016
  • Common ions for most elements
  • Color-coded background for element families/groups
  • Symbols in black (solid), blue (liquid), or red (gas) elements (at room temp.) Synthetic elements are in gray.
  • Group numbers above each column (1 – 18)

To print your own, here is a zip file of jpeg photos that you can upload or bring to your photo printer:

Periodic Table Images ZIP file

The source files used to produce the images are provided here should you want to make any adjustments.  The element database is an excel file, which is used in combination with word’s mail merge capabilities.




Note: images were produced by first saving the merged word document as a PDF and then using ImageMagick command:

magick.exe -density 300 PT-4x6-Color-Merged.pdf[0-117] 
-background white -alpha remove -resize 770x996 -gravity
center -extent 800x1200 element.jpg

Version 1.0

My previous classroom had a very large blank wall to accommodate a very large periodic table.  This is how it looked in my classroom.

The data is mostly based on the information in the element data base downloaded from Central High School’s website in St. Paul, MN, with a few corrections and additions from and

The Periodic Table

Here are the printable versions:

Periodic Table – Merged (MS Word .doc)

Periodic Table – Merged (PDF)

UPDATE:  I’ve since created a version with two elements to a page so it’s not quite as huge.

Merged-half-page (MS Word .docx)

Source Files

These files were used to produce the periodic table using MS Word’s mail merge capabilities. Should you like to change it to your liking, you can download these files and produce your own.

PT Element Data Base (MS Excel .xls)

PT Mail Merge Template (MS Word .doc)

PT Mail Merge Template – half page (MS Word .doc)

Electric Field Visualization Software (EM Field)

This summer, I’m at Arizona State University taking a modeling instruction workshop in physics – electricity and magnetism.  In dealing with electric fields (vectors and lines), potential, and equipotential lines, the curriculum materials rely on EM Field software that hasn’t been updated in many years and is no longer available for purchase or download.  The program is a 16-bit windows-95 era program and won’t even run anymore on Windows 7. 

So, I set out to try to build a similar simulation with the same functionality online to make it available to other teachers.

Check it out and leave me your feedback about what works, what doesn’t work, and any suggestions for improvement.

The following student-exploration worksheet is based on Unit 1 – Worksheet 3a from the Modeling E&M materials, but I thought I would provide it here in case teachers wanted to use it.  The directions are not very refined, but it is a start.

E&M Unit 1 Worksheet 4a – Web-based EM Field version

Empirical Formula Lab: Zinc Chloride


1. Find the mass of a clean, dry, labeled beaker. (49.45 g)

2. Add zinc to the beaker and find its mass. (52.72 g)

3. Add 50 ml of HCl to the beaker. Record observations.

4. Place the beaker on a hot plate to evaporate the water.

Day 2:

5. Find the mass of the zinc chloride left in the beaker.  Make sure all water has been driven off.

Final Mass of Beaker with Zinc Chloride:  56.27 g

Now, you have enough information to determine the empirical formula of Zinc Chloride.

Student Surveys

Every year, I give my students a survey to fill out on the first day of school.  Most of my upperclassmen I’ve taught before or at least interacted with them somehow around school, so I at least know a little about them.  The freshmen, however, are often new to me, so the surveys are often helpful.  A secondary, ulterior motive for the surveys is their entertainment value for me.  You’ll see what I mean.

A job or career I think I would enjoy is becoming a businessman because I think I would do good at agreeing and such things.

My goal for the coming year is to approve my grades.

A job or career I think I would enjoy is a salesperson because they seem to have a lot of fun.

One thing I want my teachers to know about me is I get mad very fast.  So don’t talk to me any kinds of way.

My favorite subject in school is lunch because I love to eat.

A job or career I think I would enjoy is to work at Wendy’s because I would have free food.

One thing I want my teachers to know about me is I may fall asleep in class.  It’s hard to stay awake when I’m bored.

My favorite subject in school is World Geography because the teacher is hot.

My favorite subject in school is English because you can have fun while you learning and without English you really wouldn’t know how to talk correct.

Synchronizing Files Between School & Home

As a new teacher, I did a lot of work at home. If that wasn’t painful enough, I can remember several days where I got to school and realized that the handout I spent too much time perfecting had been left at home on my printer.  Or, I had intentions of emailing documents to my school account or grabbing my flash drive, but being easily distracted, that often didn’t pan out.

After a few days of improvising lessons and trying to keep my students busy despite my unpreparedness, I quickly realized I needed a solution for this problem. And after trying out several strategies, here’s what I’ve found to be best:  Dropbox.

Dropbox is great! Basically, you can set it up on your home computer.  Choose a folder, and everything you save in that folder gets transferred to Dropbox’s servers.  So, it’s a great backup for when my computer inevitably crashes.  Install Dropbox on my school computer, and the folder with all my files is magically downloaded.  Make a change or add a file at school or home, and it replicates to the other location (unless my school district’s draconian filtering policies get in the way…).  As an added bonus, I can actually get to my files through any internet-connected computer by going to the Dropbox website.

Other benefits: I can share a folder to make it available to others.  When I get an email from a colleague asking for lesson ideas about stoichiometry, I can attach a few files from my Dropbox folder and contribute.  Likewise, when I get a great idea, lab, or lesson from a colleague, it goes in the appropriate folder within my Dropbox folder. Oh, and of course up to 2GB of storage is completely free!!! And, you can invite friends or do other simple tasks to earn more free space.

So, no more emailing files to myself. No more forgetting or losing my flash drive. My files are available to me virtually anywhere. I recommend this to my colleagues and students—I’ve had more than one instance where a student’s flash drive stopped working or got lost, and I always point them to Dropbox so it doesn’t happen again.

UPDATE September 4, 2011:

Our school network/IT department decided to block Dropbox, so I had to resort to my old-school methods for a while. However, when my laptop was stolen over the summer, having Dropbox was wonderful, as I lost almost none of my school work as it was all backed up on Dropbox’s servers.

UPDATE July 10, 2020:

It’s been a while, so let me catch you up: our district network policies went back and forth for a while as to whether Dropbox was blocked or allowed. By around 2013, it was blocked for good.

But, I had discovered Google Drive, which synced files between school and home the same way Dropbox did, providing a generous amount of storage with a free account.

Around 2015 or 2016, my district adopted Google Apps for Education, and I finally got an official school-sanctioned Google account (with unlimited storage!). Google Backup & Sync (or whatever they decided to call it now) has been my go-to for keeping files backed-up and synced between school and home.