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.
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 test a cornucopia of myths. First, they examine if a bullet can light a match. Next, they see if ear wax can be used to construct a candle. They also explore the myth that if a person has a hand in water, they will wet themselves. Adam and Jamie explore the Leidenfrost effect. Finally, they set out to examine a Star Trek classic, when Captain Kirk uses a homemade cannon to kill a Gorn. Science topic addressed include chemical reactions, friction, activation energy, combustible hydrocarbons, brain waves, sleep apnea, gunpowder, Newton’s Third Law of Motion, projectile motion, Leidenfrost effect, chemical energy, and kinetic energy.
Adam and Jamie test the classic myth about seeing if any amount of force can separate two phone books when the pages are interwoven. Tory, Grant, and Kari team up to investigate a movie scene with explosions, harpoons, and sharks! Science topics discussed include static friction, kinetic friction, forces, small scale testing, Newton’s Third law of Motion, equal and opposite reactions, tension, chemical reactions, projectile motion, projectile accuracy, shock waves, energy dissipation, and organ trauma.