Students are introduced to the physics concepts of air resistance and launch angle as they apply to catapults. This includes the basic concepts of position, velocity and acceleration and their relationships to one another. They use algebra to solve for one variable given two variables.
Students explore the basics of DC circuits, analyzing the light from light bulbs when connected in series and parallel circuits. Ohm's law and the equation for power dissipated by a circuit are the two primary equations used to explore circuits connected in series and parallel. Students measure and see the effect of power dissipation from the light bulbs. Kirchhoff's voltage law is used to show how two resistor elements add in series, while Kirchhoff's current law is used to explain how two resistor elements add when in parallel. Students also learn how electrical engineers apply this knowledge to solve problems. Power dissipation is particularly important with the introduction of LED bulbs and claims of energy efficiency, and understanding how power dissipation is calculated helps when evaluating these types of claims. This activity is designed to introduce students to the concepts needed to understand how circuits can be reduced algebraically.
Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing. The design process integrates energy concepts as they test and evaluate designs that address the task as an engineer would. The goal is for students to understand the basics of engineering design associated with kinetic and potential energy to build an optimal roller coaster. The marble starts with potential energy that is converted to kinetic energy as it moves along the track. The diameter of the loops that the marble traverses without falling out depends on the kinetic energy obtained by the marble.
In this hands-on activity, students learn about two types of friction static and kinetic and the equation that governs them. They also measure the coefficient of static friction and the coefficient of kinetic friction experimentally.
Students use their understanding of projectile physics and fluid dynamics to find the water pressure in water guns. By measuring the range of the water jets, they are able to calculate the theoretical pressure. Students create graphs to analyze how the predicted pressure relates to the number of times they pump the water gun before shooting.
Students explore energy efficiency, focusing on renewable energy, by designing and building flat-plate solar water heaters. They apply their understanding of the three forms of heat transfer (conduction, convection and radiation), as well as how they relate to energy efficiency. They calculate the efficiency of the solar water heaters during initial and final tests and compare the efficiencies to those of models currently sold on the market (requiring some additional investigation by students). After comparing efficiencies, students explain how they would further improve their devices. Students learn about the trade-offs between efficiency and cost by calculating the total cost of their devices and evaluating cost per percent efficiency and per degree change of the water.
In this lesson, students are introduced to both potential energy and kinetic energy as forms of mechanical energy. A hands-on activity demonstrates how potential energy can change into kinetic energy by swinging a pendulum, illustrating the concept of conservation of energy. Students calculate the potential energy of the pendulum and predict how fast it will travel knowing that the potential energy will convert into kinetic energy. They verify their predictions by measuring the speed of the pendulum.
Students measure the wavelength of sounds and learn basic vocabulary associated with waves. As a class, they brainstorm the difference between two tuning forks and the sounds they produce. Then they come up with a way to measure that difference. Using a pipe in a graduated cylinder filled with water, students measure the wavelength of various tuning forks by finding the height the pipe must be held at to produce the loudest note. After calculating the wavelength and comparing it to the pitch of each tuning fork, students discover the relationship between wavelength and pitch.
This task asks students to use inverse operations to solve the equations for the unknown variable, or for the designated variable if there is more than one. Two of the equations are of physical significance and are examples of Ohm's Law and Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation.
Students are given an engineering challenge: A nearby hospital has just installed a new magnetic resonance imaging facility that has the capacity to make 3D images of the brain and other body parts by exposing patients to a strong magnetic field. The hospital wishes for its entire staff to have a clear understanding of the risks involved in working near a strong magnetic field and a basic understanding of why those risks occur. Your task is to develop a presentation or pamphlet explaining the risks, the physics behind those risks, and the safety precautions to be taken by all staff members. This 10-lesson/4-activity unit was designed to provide hands-on activities to teach end-of-year electricity and magnetism topics to a first-year accelerated or AP physics class. Students learn about and then apply the following science concepts to solve the challenge: magnetic force, magnetic moments and torque, the Biot-Savart law, Ampere's law and Faraday's law. This module is built around the Legacy Cycle, a format that incorporates findings from educational research on how people best learn.
Modeling Our World with Mathematics Unit 1: Health & Fitness Topic 2 - Sports & Fitness
Students examine collisions between two skateboards with different masses to learn about conservation of momentum in collisions.
The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate Newton's 3rd Law of Motion, which is the physical law that governs thrust in aircraft. The students will do several activities that show that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Students learn the fundamental concepts of heat transfer and heat of reaction. This includes concepts such as physical chemistry, an equation for heat transfer, and a basic understanding of energy and heat transfer.
This activity shows students the engineering importance of understanding the laws of mechanical energy. More specifically, it demonstrates how potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy and back again. Given a pendulum height, students calculate and predict how fast the pendulum will swing by using the equations for potential and kinetic energy. The equations will be justified as students experimentally measure the speed of the pendulum and compare theory with reality.
The purpose of this activity is to demonstrate how drag affects falling objects. Students will make a variety of shapes out of paper and see how size and shape affects the speed with which their paper shapes fall.
Students learn the importance of heat transfer and heat conductance. Using hot plates, student groups measure the temperature change of a liquid over a set time period and use the gathered data to calculate the heat transfer that occurs. Then, as if they were engineers, students pool their results to discuss and determine the best fluid to use in a car radiator.
Students learn about the types of waves and how they change direction, as well as basic wave properties such as wavelength, frequency, amplitude and speed. During the presentation of lecture information on wave characteristics and properties, students take notes using a handout. Then they label wave parts on a worksheet diagram and draw their own waves with specified properties (crest, trough and wavelength). They also make observations about the waves they drew to determine which has the highest and the lowest frequency. With this knowledge, students better understand waves and are a step closer to understanding how humans see color.
Students explore material properties by applying some basic principles of heat transfer. They use calorimeters to determine the specific heat of three substances: aluminum, copper and another of their choice. Each substance is cooled in a freezer and then placed in the calorimeter. The temperature change of the water and the substance are used in heat transfer equations to determine the specific heat of each substance. The students compare their calculated values with tabulated data.
Use a series of interactive models and games to explore electrostatics. Learn about the effects positive and negative charges have on one another, and investigate these effects further through games. Learn about Coulomb's law and the concept that both the distance between the charges and the difference in the charges affect the strength of the force. Explore polarization at an atomic level, and learn how a material that does not hold any net charge can be attracted to a charged object. Students will be able to: