Today in Honors Physics, we explored inertia and Newton’s First Law with seven activity stations and two demos (handout). Some of the activities are familiar (seatbelt Barbie, spin the human, nuts about hoops & bottles), some provide a shared experience for a later discussion of impulse (toilet paper, chopping blocks), and some blow their minds and lead to a great discussion (hitting the stake, floating fishing bobber). One demo is the classic clearing the table and the other is less familiar but equally impressive in which eggs are dropped into cups of water. (Blog post with photos and videos of some of the activities.)
Today I tried something new for the activity to model the relationship between mass and weight. We didn’t have time; so, instead of having groups perform the experiment, I led the class through it. To make it more engaging, I used a LabQuest 2 from Vernier to gather the data. I then shared the data over an ad-hoc wireless network to iPads distributed to each student. This allowed the students to see the data as it was collected and to perform the analysis on their own. The whole process will work better once the LabQuest 2 is configured on the network, but I was pleased that the LabQuest 2 could handle a room full of iPads and with the overall efficiency of the process.
In AP Physics B, we started fluids today. I ended class with a demonstration of Heron’s Fountain (without referring to it by name) and challenged the students to examine it and then post an explanation for how it works.
Today we started the Balanced Forces Particle Model unit in Honors Physics. Of all the forces introduced today, we focused most on the mysterious normal force. We bridged from the foam (and spring) to the whiteboard plank to the lab table:
Today, students in AP Physics B were hired by Physics Toys, Inc.:
Engineers at Physics Toys, Inc. have designed a new battery-powered airplane toy. They have hired you to determine the necessary tensile strength of the string connecting the airplane to the bracket. Physics Toys, Inc. has a variety of equipment, please ask if you need something.
Lots of possible assumptions, measurement techniques, and analysis!
Today was the lab practicum for the constant-velocity particle model unit. Students had to determine the velocity of two different buggies and then, given a separation of 2 meters, determine where they would collide. I tend to get excited and lose focus; so, I filmed the actual collisions. Students liked watching the slow-motion replay of their buggies’ collision.
We are wrapping up the CVPM unit and today we presented and discussed the most challenging whiteboards. The group that prepared the whiteboard for this problem did a great job:
A hungry bat finds the mother lode of flying insects between the headlights of two bicycles cruising towards each other through the Herrick Lake Forest Preserve. The bikes are 100 meters apart at the start and one has a speed of 8.0 m/s and the other a speed of 10.0 m/s. The bat has a speed of 20.0 m/s. Assume that the bat flies from the front tire of one bike straight to the front tire of the other bike, then turns around with no delay and heads towards the other bike. This is repeated until both bikes and the bat are at the same place. Determine how far the bat flies during this flying feast.
Missed my afternoon classes to meet as all of the district’s physics teachers and decide our plan regarding AP Physics. Very pleased with our plans to have AP Physics 1 replace Honors and AP Physics 2 replace AP Physics B.
This morning, I picked up our freshly painted robotics trailer from our sister high school. It looks amazing. I can’t wait to see how sharp the blue decals look when applied!
Lots of CVPM goodness: position vs. time graphs, velocity vs. time graphs, motion maps, and mathematical models!