In Part 1 of this unit, students will learn about data collection, graphing skills (both by hand and computer aided [Desmos]), and the fundamental mathematical patterns of the course: horizontal line, proportional, linear, quadratic, and inverse. Students perform several experiments, each targeting a different pattern and build the mathematical models of physical phenomena. During each experiment, students start with an uninformed wild guess, then through inquiry and making sense through group consensus, can make an accurate data informed prediction.
Students are confronted with a scenario of a student who is texting and driving in the school parking lot and they are tasked to determine the effect of various parameters to see if a student will collide with a pedestrian. Students must begin by breaking the scenario down into more manageable parts to determine what must be studied about the situation. Through a series of labs and activities, students learn how to model and predict situations with constant velocity and acceleration. Then, coding a spreadsheet, students model the complex situation of a texting driver, reacting, and braking during a potentially hazardous situation to create an evidence-based argument.
In order to contextualize the Energy unit, students are tasked to engineer a bungee cord that will optimize the enjoyment of a doll’s bungee jump. To do this, students first develop the mathematical patterns through inquiry on gravitational energy, kinetic energy, and elastic energy. Once the patterns have been established, students further build on their spreadsheet coding skills, in order to use computational thinking to create a program that will help predict the length of bungee cord necessary for a variety of situations.
This unit is centered on designing a shoe for a customer. Students decide on a particular type of shoe that they want to design and utilize ideas of force, impulse, and friction to meet the needs of a particular customer. Force plates are used study the relationship between force, time, and impulse to allow students to get the mathematical models that allow them to make data informed decisions about their shoe design.
The phenomenon that launches this unit is a cell phone call to a student in the class, where the caller on speaker phone asks “How are you hearing me?”. Over the course of the unit, students discover the patterns with waves. Then use that understanding to explain ultrasound medical imagining technology and ultimately how cell phones work. Cell phone communication is operationalized by the engineering challenge of communicating a three letter signal by first coding a spreadsheet to digitize the signal in binary (ASCII), then transmit the digital signal using light and sound (AM and FM), then receive and decode the signal to complete the communication. This project models the sending and receiving of a text message.
This unit is loaded with phenomena. The real world task of being a member of Oregon's Energy Commission that must create a 50-Year Energy Plan propels students through a learning arc that includes electricity, magnetism, power production, and climate science. After the Request for a 50-Year Energy Plan students jigsaw energy sources and power production. They need to understand the basic physics of how generators works leads us to build and explore motors (starting with speakers which also connect to the Waves & Technology unit) and inefficient generators (electric guitars). The need for large amounts of energy and efficient generators motivates us to engineer wind turbines and optimize solar cells for a local facilities use. Creating the rubric to evaluate large scale power production launches us into climate science. With all the learning of the unit students and many real world constraints student finally complete, compare, and evaluate their 50-Year Energy Plan.
By using the hook of Halley’s comet, dark matter, and dark energy students data mine Newton’s Law of Universal Gravity and build an and evaluate other arguments for the Big Bang.
This unit launches with a slow-motion video of a speaker as it plays music. In the previous unit, students developed a model of sound. This unit allows students to investigate the cause of a speaker’s vibration in addition to the effect.
Students dissect speakers to explore the inner workings, and engineer homemade cup speakers to manipulate the parts of the speaker. They identify that most speakers have the same parts–a magnet, a coil of wire, and a membrane. Students investigate each of these parts to figure out how they work together in the speaker system. Along the way, students manipulate the components (e.g. changing the strength of the magnet, number of coils, direction of current) to see how this technology can be modified and applied to a variety of contexts, like MagLev trains, junkyard magnets, and electric motors.
This animated essay from the American Experience Web site explains the difference between alternating and direct electric current and offers in-depth explanations about the role played by a battery, light bulb, wire, and generator. Grades 6-12.
At this point in the unit, students have learned about Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle, Bernoulli's principle, and why above-ground storage tanks are of major concern in the Houston Ship Channel and other coastal areas. In this culminating activity, student groups act as engineering design teams to derive equations to determine the stability of specific above-ground storage tank scenarios with given tank specifications and liquid contents. With their floatation analyses completed and the stability determined, students analyze the tank stability in specific storm conditions. Then, teams are challenged to come up with improved storage tank designs to make them less vulnerable to uplift, displacement and buckling in storm conditions. Teams present their analyses and design ideas in short class presentations.
This video segment adapted from First Light explains why the highest peak in the Pacific, Mauna Kea, is an ideal site for astronomical observations. Featured are new telescope technologies that allow astronomers to explore the universe in more depth.
This module introduces the concept of biological absorption, storage and distribution of chemicals.
Using students' step length to understand the relationship between distance, speed and acceleration. Includes graphing of data and interpretation of graphs.
Students make a wheel and axle out of cardboard and a wooden dowel. It is rooled along a ramp made of parallel meter sticks, and the acceleration can be made small enough to make accurate measurements and calculations.
Students work as physicists to understand centripetal acceleration concepts. They also learn about a good robot design and the accelerometer sensor. They also learn about the relationship between centripetal acceleration and centripetal force governed by the radius between the motor and accelerometer and the amount of mass at the end of the robot's arm. Students graph and analyze data collected from an accelerometer, and learn to design robots with proper weight distribution across the robot for their robotic arms. Upon using a data logging program, they view their own data collected during the activity. By activity end , students understand how a change in radius or mass can affect the data obtained from the accelerometer through the plots generated from the data logging program. More specifically, students learn about the accuracy and precision of the accelerometer measurements from numerous trials.
This segment from Swift: Eyes through Time traces the history military officers and engineers discovering a strange phenomenon in the sky that astronomers now know are gamma-ray bursts.
In this lab exercise, students practice correctly using measurement tools, recording data, calculating density, using significant figures, and exploring the concepts of accuracy and precision.
This groundbreaking NRDC documentary explores the startling phenomenon of ocean acidification, which may challenge marine life on a scale not seen for tens of millions of years. The film, featuring Sigourney Weaver, originally aired on Discovery Planet Green. A related curriculum kit is available at: http://www.nrdc.org/oceans/acidification/files/labkit.pdf
In this video segment, the ZOOM cast demonstrates how to use cabbage juice to find out if a solution is an acid or a base.
- Material Type:
- PBS LearningMedia
- Provider Set:
- PBS Learning Media: Multimedia Resources for the Classroom and Professional Development
- National Science Foundation
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Date Added: