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.
The Mythbuster team explores the story that people are crossing the US border via slingshot method. Some of the physics concepts alluded to include projectile motion, launch degrees, use of the SI units of measurements, impulse, Newtons Laws of Motion, consistent testing conditions, force, mass, distance, acceleration, potential energy, kinetic energy, elasticity, g forces, center of balance, center of gravity, parabolic trajectory, and parabolic arcs.
Reading guides (or sometimes called guided readings) are designed to get students to open a textbook. They are an excellent means to improve student reading comprehension skills, fluency, and word recognition. They force the students to actively interact with the text in a quantifiable manner. And once the students are done with the reading guides, they have a ready-made study guide to look over for the quiz! To keep the kids honest when putting down answers, I typically cut and paste some of the answers to a weekly quiz.
Reading guides also make good sub-lesson plans. They are self-directed activities which the majority of students should be able to independently finish.
The reading guides I offer were designed for use with the Paul Hewitt Conceptual Physics book with the white roller coaster on the cover (2009). The ISBN number is 9780133647495. If you do not have this edition of the book, many of the questions and page numbers will not align correctly. The reading guides are typically 45 to 50 questions in length, with a good mix of higher- and lower-level questions in the mix. There are also some questions where graphs must be drawn, or sketches need to be made.
The reading guides are numbered about 25 questions per sheet of paper (roughly 50 questions total), so that if students are working in pairs, they can split the work evenly between them with no arguments of who will be doing more work. This is also an exercise in teamwork and peer communication skills!
This is a great episode to show right before holiday break. The Mythbusters build a holiday-themed Rube Goldberg Machine, designed to make the simplest task as complicated as possible. The rest of the team tackles other holiday related myths including which chemicals help keep the needles on a tree the longest, if a frozen turkey dropped on a pet will kill it, and if the energy coming from a radio antenna can cook a turkey. Science topics include simple machines, Rube Goldberg machine, chemical interactions, uniform controls, force, mass, acceleration, skeletal analogs, bone tensile strength, radio waves, water molecules, and microwaves.
Adam and Jamie test the myth that wearing steel toed boots can actually cause toes to become amputated. This is a great segment showing the importance of safety shoes. Kari, Tory, and Grant test the myth that a person can become airborne with soda bottles strapped to their backs. This myth demonstrates the difficulty of engineering solutions and the application of Newton’s Third Law of Motion. The science topics mentioned include force, pressure, structural rigidity, structural integrity, human skeletal analogs, Newton’s Third Law, equal and opposite reactions, air pressure, thrust, water to air ratios, PSI, space shuttle Challenger disaster, and o ring failure.