Middle School Physics

313 affiliated resources

Search Resources

View
Selected filters:
Above-Ground Storage Tank Design Project
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

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.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Emily Sappington
Mila Taylor
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Accelerometer: Centripetal Acceleration
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

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.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Carlo Yuvienco
Jennifer S. Haghpanah
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Action-Reaction! Rocket
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students construct rockets from balloons propelled along a guide string. They use this model to learn about Newton's three laws of motion, examining the effect of different forces on the motion of the rocket.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Ben Heavner
Denise W. Carlson
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Sabre Duren
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Adjusting Your Water Heater to Conserve Energy
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

In this lab-based activity the students will use their knowledge about the law of conservation of energy to explain the loss of heat by warm water to cold water. Then, the students will use these concepts to design and carry an experiment to determine the unknown temperature of a hot water sample.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Nour Sinada
Date Added:
08/10/2012
The Advantage of Machines
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

In this lesson, students learn about work as defined by physical science and see that work is made easier through the use of simple machines. Already encountering simple machines everyday, students will be alerted to their widespread uses in everyday life. This lesson serves as the starting point for the Simple Machines Unit.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Glen Sirakavit
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Melissa Straten
Michael Bendewald
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Air Pressure
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Air pressure is pushing on us all the time although we do not usually notice it. In this activity, students learn about the units of pressure and get a sense of just how much air pressure is pushing on them.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Alex Conner
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Tom Rutkowski
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Amusement Park Ride: Ups and Downs in Design
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

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.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
C. Shade
Marthy Cyr
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Android Acceleration
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students prepare for the associated activity in which they investigate acceleration by collecting acceleration vs. time data using the accelerometer of a sliding Android device. Based on the experimental set-up for the activity, students form hypotheses about the acceleration of the device. Students will investigate how the force on the device changes according to Newton's Second Law. Different types of acceleration, including average, instantaneous and constant acceleration, are introduced. Acceleration and force is described mathematically and in terms of processes and applications.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Brian Sandall
Scott Burns
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Android Pendulums
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students investigate the motion of a simple pendulum through direct observation and data collection using Android® devices. First, student groups create pendulums that hang from the classroom ceiling, using Android smartphones or tablets as the bobs, taking advantage of their built-in accelerometers. With the Android devices loaded with the (provided) AccelDataCapture app, groups explore the periodic motion of the pendulums, changing variables (amplitude, mass, length) to see what happens, by visual observation and via the app-generated graphs. Then teams conduct formal experiments to alter one variable while keeping all other parameters constant, performing numerous trials, identifying independent/dependent variables, collecting data and using the simple pendulum equation. Through these experiments, students investigate how pendulums move and the changing forces they experience, better understanding the relationship between a pendulum's motion and its amplitude, length and mass. They analyze the data, either on paper or by importing into a spreadsheet application. As an extension, students may also develop their own algorithms in a provided App Inventor framework in order to automatically note the time of each period.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Doug Bertelsen
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Antimatter Matters
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Antimatter, the charge reversed equivalent of matter, has captured the imaginations of science fiction fans for years as a perfectly efficient form of energy. While normal matter consists of atoms with negatively charged electrons orbiting positively charged nuclei, antimatter consists of positively charged positrons orbiting negatively charged anti-nuclei. When antimatter and matter meet, both substances are annihilated, creating massive amounts of energy. Instances in which antimatter is portrayed in science fiction stories (such as Star Trek) are examined, including their purposes (fuel source, weapons, alternate universes) and properties. Students compare and contrast matter and antimatter, learn how antimatter can be used as a form of energy, and consider potential engineering applications for antimatter.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Christine Hawthorne
Rachel Howser
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Archimedes' Principle, Pascal's Law and Bernoulli's Principle
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students are introduced to Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle and Bernoulli's principle. Fundamental definitions, equations, practice problems and engineering applications are supplied. A PowerPoint® presentation, practice problems and grading rubric are provided.

Subject:
Engineering
Mathematics
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Emily Sappington
Mila Taylor
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Art in Engineering - Moving Art
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students learn how forces are used in the creation of art. They come to understand that it is not just bridge and airplane designers who are concerned about how forces interact with objects, but artists as well. As "paper engineers," students create their own mobiles and pop-up books, and identify and use the forces (air currents, gravity, hand movement) acting upon them.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Denise Carlson
Denise W. Carlson
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Natalie Mach
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Balanced Forces
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

This lecture/activity on force will further a students' understanding of forces on an object, as well as the difference between a balanced and unbalanced forces.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Rashelle Hoffmann
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Balloon Rockets in 1D
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

In this structured inquiry activity students will work in groups/ teams to build a balloon rocket of their own design. The rocket will race in one dimension and require that they apply their knowledge of position, time, and velocity.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Pedagogy in Action
Author:
Mary Hoelscher
Date Added:
08/10/2012
Balloons
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students follow the steps of the engineering design process as they design and construct balloons for aerial surveillance. After their first attempts to create balloons, they are given the associated Estimating Buoyancy lesson to learn about volume, buoyancy and density to help them iterate more successful balloon designs.Applying their newfound knowledge, the young engineers build and test balloons that fly carrying small flip cameras that capture aerial images of their school. Students use the aerial footage to draw maps and estimate areas.

Subject:
Engineering
Mathematics
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Marissa H. Forbes
Mike Soltys
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Bend That Bar
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students learn about material properties, and that engineers must consider many different materials properties when designing. This activity focuses on strength-to-weight ratios and how sometimes the strongest material is not always the best material.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Alex Conner
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Tom Rutkowski
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Bernoulli's Principle
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Bernoulli's principle relates the pressure of a fluid to its elevation and its speed. Bernoulli's equation can be used to approximate these parameters in water, air or any fluid that has very low viscosity. Students learn about the relationships between the components of the Bernoulli equation through real-life engineering examples and practice problems.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Denise W. Carlson
James Prager
Karen King
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Better By Design
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students use the scientific method to determine the effect of control surfaces on a paper glider. They construct paper airplanes (model gliders) and test their performance to determine the base characteristics of the planes. Then they change one of the control surfaces and compare the results to their base glider in order to determine the cause and effect relationship of the control surfaces.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Alex Conner
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Tom Rutkowski
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Blast Off
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Rockets need a lot of thrust to get into space. In this lesson, students learn how rocket thrust is generated with propellant. The two types of propellants are discussed and relation to their use on rockets is investigated. Students learn why engineers need to know the different properties of propellants.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Brian Argrow
Janet Yowell
Jay Shah
Jeff White
Luke Simmons
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Blow-and-Go Parachute
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students make a skydiver and parachute contraption to demonstrate how drag caused by air resistance slows the descent of skydivers as they travel back to Earth. Gravity pulls the skydiver toward the Earth, while the air trapped by the parachute provides an upward resisting force (drag) on the skydiver.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Ben Heavner
Denise Carlson
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Sabre Duren
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Bone Density Challenge Introduction
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students are introduced to the challenge question, which revolves around proving that a cabinet x-ray system can produce bone mineral density images. Students work independently to generate ideas from the questions provided, then share with partners and then with the class as part of the Multiple Perspectives phase of this unit. Then, as part of the associated activity, students explore multiple websites to gather information about bone mineral density and answer worksheet questions, followed by a quiz on the material covered in the articles.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Kristyn Shaffer
Megan Johnston
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Bone Mineral Density Math and Beer's Law
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students revisit the mathematics required to find bone mineral density, to which they were introduced in lesson 2 of this unit. They learn the equation to find intensity, Beer's law, and how to use it. Then they complete a sheet of practice problems that use the equation.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Kristyn Shaffer
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Bone Mineral Density and Logarithms
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students examine an image produced by a cabinet x-ray system to determine if it is a quality bone mineral density image. They write in their journals about what they need to know to be able to make this judgment. Students learn about what bone mineral density is, how a BMD image can be obtained, and how it is related to the x-ray field. Students examine the process used to obtain a BMD image and how this process is related to mathematics, primarily through logarithmic functions. They study the relationship between logarithms and exponents, the properties of logarithms, common and natural logarithms, solving exponential equations and Beer's law.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Physics
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Kristyn Shaffer
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Bouncing Balls
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students examine how different balls react when colliding with different surfaces, giving plenty of opportunity for them to see the difference between elastic and inelastic collisions, learn how to calculate momentum, and understand the principle of conservation of momentum.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Bailey Jones
Chris Yakacki
Denise Carlson
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Matt Lundberg
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Bouncing Balls (for High School)
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

In this activity, students examine how different balls react when colliding with different surfaces. Also, they will have plenty of opportunity to learn how to calculate momentum and understand the principle of conservation of momentum.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Bailey Jones
Ben Sprague
Chris Yakacki
Denise Carlson
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Matt Lundberg
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Building Roller Coasters
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students build their own small-scale model roller coasters using pipe insulation and marbles, and then analyze them using physics principles learned in the associated lesson. They examine conversions between kinetic and potential energy and frictional effects to design roller coasters that are completely driven by gravity. A class competition using different marbles types to represent different passenger loads determines the most innovative and successful roller coasters.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Scott Liddle
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Building a Fancy Spectrograph
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students create and decorate their own spectrographs using simple materials and holographic diffraction gratings. A holographic diffraction grating acts like a prism, showing the visual components of light. After building the spectrographs, students observe the spectra of different light sources as homework.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Building an Electromagnet
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students design and construct electromagnets that must pick up 10 staples. They begin with only minimal guidance, and after the basic concept is understood, are informed of the properties that affect the strength of that magnet. They conclude by designing their own electromagnets to complete the challenge of separating scrap steel from scrap aluminum for recycling, and share it with the class.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Justin Montenegro
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Buoyant Boats
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students conduct a simple experiment to see how the water level changes in a beaker when a lump of clay sinks in the water and when the same lump of clay is shaped into a bowl that floats in the water. They notice that the floating clay displaces more water than the sinking clay does, perhaps a surprising result. Then they determine the mass of water that is displaced when the clay floats in the water. A comparison of this mass to the mass of the clay itself reveals that they are approximately the same.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Can You Resist This?
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

This lab demonstrates Ohm's law as students set up simple circuits each composed of a battery, lamp and resistor. Students calculate the current flowing through the circuits they create by solving linear equations. After solving for the current, I, for each set resistance value, students plot the three points on a Cartesian plane and note the line that is formed. They also see the direct correlation between the amount of current flowing through the lamp and its brightness.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Aubrey McKelvey
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Can You Take the Pressure?
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

This lesson introduces students to the concept of air pressure. Students will explore how air pressure creates force on an object. They will study the relationship between air pressure and the velocity of moving air.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Alex Conner
Geoffrey Hill
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Tom Rutkowski
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Cartesian Diver
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students observe Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle and the ideal gas law as a Cartesian diver moves within a closed system. The Cartesian diver is neutrally buoyant and begins to sink when an external pressure is applied to the closed system. A basic explanation and proof of this process is provided in this activity, and supplementary ideas for more extensive demonstrations and independent group activities are presented.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Emily Sappington
Mila Taylor
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Catapults!
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students observe the relationship between the angle of a catapult (a force measurement) and the flight of a cotton ball. They learn how Newton's second law of motion works by seeing directly that F = ma. When they pull the metal "arm" back further, thus applying a greater force to the cotton ball, it causes the cotton ball to travel faster and farther. Students also learn that objects of greater mass require more force to result in the same distance traveled by a lighter object.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Ben Heavner
Denise Carlson
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Sabre Duren
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Circuits
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students are introduced to several key concepts of electronic circuits. They learn about some of the physics behind circuits, the key components in a circuit and their pervasiveness in our homes and everyday lives. Students learn about Ohm's Law and how it is used to analyze circuits.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Denise W. Carlson
Lauren Cooper
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Tyler Maline
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Circuits and Magnetic Fields
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students use the same method as in the activity from lesson 2 of this unit to explore the magnetism due to electric current instead of a permanent magnet. Students use a compass and circuit to trace the magnetic field lines induced by the electric current moving through the wire. Students develop an understanding of the effect of the electrical current on the compass needle through the induced magnetic field and understand the complexity of a three dimensional field system.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Justin Montenegro
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Clean Energy: Hydropower
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Hydropower generation is introduced to students as a common purpose and benefit of constructing dams. Through an introduction to kinetic and potential energy, students come to understand how a dam creates electricity. They also learn the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Denise W. Carlson
Kristin Field
Michael Bendewald
Sara Born
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Clean Up This Mess
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Students are challenged to design a method for separating steel from aluminum based on magnetic properties as is frequently done in recycling operations. To complicate the challenge, the magnet used to separate the steel must be able to be switched off to allow for the recollection of the steel. Students must ultimately design, test, and present an effective electromagnet.

Subject:
Engineering
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Physics
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Justin Montenegro
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Collisions and Momentum: Bouncing Balls
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

As a continuation of the theme of potential and kinetic energy, this lesson introduces the concepts of momentum, elastic and inelastic collisions. Many sports and games, such as baseball and ping-pong, illustrate the ideas of momentum and collisions. Students explore these concepts by bouncing assorted balls on different surfaces and calculating the momentum for each ball.

Subject:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Bailey Jones
Chris Yakacki
Denise Carlson
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Matt Lundberg
Date Added:
09/18/2014