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.
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.
This is a 19-problem worksheet on 4 pages (2 sheets, front and back sides). These multistep problems involve multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, exponents, and the use of square roots. Students should have a grasp of basic algebra and know the order of operations. They will solve for gravitational potential energy, mass, height, velocity, and kinetic energy.
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!
Jamie and Adam test the myth that during a hurricane, a straw can have enough kinetic energy to go through a palm tree. The rest of the Mythbuster team attempts to prove the myth that plants and animals are interconnected through unseen psychic forces. Concepts discussed are wind speed, Fujita scale, velocity and mass relationships, kinetic energy, air pressure, barrel length and impulse time, tree trunk density, polygraph results, using baseline data, interpreting data, controlled variables, voltage measurements, false positives, and the repeatability of results.
Jamie and Adam look into the myth that Nikola Tesla invented an earthquake machine that almost destroyed his research building. Tory, Grant, and Kari look into the myth of the exploding lava lamp and if other containers can explode with deadly consequences. Science concepts discussed include resonance, resonance frequency, feedback, feedback loops, oscillations, wave frequency, energy, wave superposition, kinetic energy, thermal energy, pressure and temperature relationships, the rapid cooling of heated surfaces, and structural integrity.
The Mythbusters first test to find out if a bullet fired or a bullet dropped hits the ground first, then examine the myth that a sufficient punch can knock a person out of their socks. This classic experiment is typically described in all physics textbooks, when the independent nature of the X and Y axis is discussed. Topics of importance include independent axis, gravitational pull, velocity, drop height, engineering practices, valid vs. invalid results, uncontrolled variables, inertia and mass relationships, potential energy and kinetic energy, controlled variables, friction, and pressure waves.
Adam and Jamie apply Newton’s Third Law to see if two objects heading towards each other at 50 mph have the same kinetic energy as one car travelling into a wall at 100 mph. The rest of the team explores the numerous variables involved when attempting to knock someone out of their socks. Scientific concepts include Newton’s Third Law, kinetic energy, mass, velocity, impact force, momentum, relative motion, acceleration, g-loads, transverse momentum, impact energy distribution, elastic and inelastic collisions, friction, and inertia.