This lab explores how the pull of gravity, acceleration of falling objects, and leaping ability of your students affects a person’s hang-time. Many students believe they have a much greater hang-time than they actually possess. This lab will bring them down to earth, using science and a few equations to give them a reality check of their athletic abilities.
This two-day lab introduces students to the concept of density and how it is different than mass. Students will obtain the mass and volume of specific objects and learn how to calculate density first-hand. They will also make a liquid density column to demonstrate the density of various liquids and where objects will settle in them.
This lab introduces the concept of mechanical equilibrium to beginning physics students. They will come to see how the equilibrium rule applies to all nonmoving objects at rest. Materials needed per group are a meterstick, a 1kg mass, and two digital scales. Two colored pencils are optional, as they will assist in line differentiation for the graph they will construct. If colored pencils are not available, just use a pencil and pen instead. (And pray they do not need to erase the pen lines.)
This activity is a great beginning of the year lesson to teach students the importance of following directions. There are two components to this activity: 1) Students will complete the “classic” directions-following worksheet where they have to write down their name (and that’s it) and, 2) Students will write down instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and then the instructor (or possibly another student) will attempt to make it using only their instructions. If it is not written down, you don’t do it. For example, if the instructions say, “Grab a spoon,” then the person only grabs the spoon, possibly on the ladle part and not the handle. Yes, this lab is usually good for a few laughs—but it makes the point.
This is a great lab to begin the exploration of the world of forces on objects! The lab consists of 5 worksheets that conceptually guide the student through the exploration of forces, unbalanced forces, net forces, static and dynamic equilibrium, friction, Newton’s Laws of Motion, and acceleration.
This is a computer lab that utilizes the Atwood’s Machine to explore Newton’s Second Law of Motion, F=ma. To access the lab, go to http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Physics-Interactives/Newtons-Laws/Atwoods-Machine This lab has a total of 34 questions, covering six pages. A calculator is needed, but the math is very straight forward, essentially having the students plug in numbers for Newton’s Second Law of Motion, F=ma. Multiplication and division are all that is needed. Roughly about 30% of the higher-order questions are conceptually based off of the calculations and diagrams the students make in class.
This lab is designed to have students construct balloons and have them race down fishing line to explore the conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy, Newton’s 2nd and 3rd Laws of Motion, and the equilibrium of forces. The lab is 4 pages long with detailed, easy to follow instructions, that should allow the students to seamlessly complete the lab with little teacher redirection. But in reality, at least with my students, they need to be kept on-task whenever they perform a lab.
This straight-forward physics lab activity has students constructing an accurate model of an object’s flight path as it is pulled down by gravity. This is a relatively simple lab to construct and the students can get a hands-on understanding of the physics behind falling objects. This lab also allows the students to predict and model how far an object will fall 7 seconds into the future! A rubric and short answer questions follow the model construction.
This lab is one of the most popular for obvious reasons! In it, students will investigate static charges on balloons, an electroscope, and the Van de Graaff generator. This is a straight-forward lab, but some teacher set-up time is needed. Teachers will need to provide a Van de Graaff generator, an electroscope, and enough balloons and tissue paper for each student. Make sure that none of the students are allergic to latex and use cheap tissue paper, the kind without any lotion if possible. Also, clean the Van de Graaff dome with alcohol before use to get the best effects possible.