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.
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!
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.