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.
Grant, Tory, and Kari test the myth that if you blow your own sail, you can move forward. Adam and Jamie explore the world of movie sounds to test if what you hear in the theaters resembles anything you hear in reality. Scientific principles alluded to include Newton’s First Law of Motion, objects in motion stay in motion, objects at rest remain at rest, Newton’s Second Law of Motion, F = MA, internal forces, external forces, force cancellation, net force, and free body diagrams.
The Martian is an excellent movie demonstrating the science behind survival. Mark Watney becomes stranded on Mars and has only his scientific training and can-do attitude to save him, while waiting for rescue. This film delves topically into the actual scientific mechanics of interplanetary survival in terms of chemistry, physics, and also Earth-based politics. Scientific topics discussed include Newton’s First and Second Laws of Motion, the gravitational slingshot effect, orbits, trajectories, relative velocity, the chemistry of combustion, mass and acceleration, space flight, human isolation, Martian dust storms, heat from nuclear fission, botany, air pressure differentials, electrostatic charges, evaporation, condensation, logistics planning, long-range radio communications, the light minute, hexadecimal communication system, artificial gravity, circular motion, mass and escape velocity, and G forces.