Day 80-82: Capstone Exploration and Feedback

Today is the first of three days of semester finals. AP Physics 2 students spent our final exam period exploring each others’ capstones and providing feedback. Since the capstones are published online, students are able to incorporate their peer feedback even though they have already “submitted” their capstones by submitting links via a Canvas assignment. Some students also took advantage of the time to review for their other final exams.



Day 79: Capstone Exploration

Today is the school’s official “review” day in preparation for finals which start tomorrow. Since the capstone projects are the final, we spent today wrapping up loose ends like surveys for the district’s Digital Learning Initiative (1:1 Chromebook pilot) and making sure everyone’s capstones were published. One student modeled a magnet falling through a copper pipe. We had some leftover liquid nitrogen and so we explored the affect of the temperature of the copper pipe on the rate at which the magnet falls. The colder pipe definitely resulted in a slower descent!


We had fun freezing various parts of students’ lunches as well. All was fun until the dewar accidentally got bumped off the table and broke. Loud bang, big mess, expensive replacement 🙁

  ##setbacks ##capstones  

Day 78: Capstones! (Featuring High-Altitude Balloon Post Mortem)

Today is the last day for students to work on their capstones since they are due tonight. I’ll share some of the published capstones later. The in-progress capstone that I’m featuring today is a student who is performing a post mortem analysis on Physics Club’s recent high-altitude balloon launch. We’ve launched several high-altitude balloons in the past and our most recent launch was a couple of weeks ago. The payload encountered very high winds during flight and it appears that the tracking device became separated from the rest of the balloon and payload around 80,000 feet. As a result, we only recovered the tracking device and not the rest of the payload with our parachute, sensors, data, and video cameras. We are hopeful that someone will find the payload and give us a call as our name and phone number are on it. This capstone is modeling where the payload may have landed based on when the balloon burst. Lots of area to search!

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Day 77: Capstones! (Featuring Nerf Darts in the Wind Tunnel)

Today I’m featuring a student whose capstone is to investigate at what velocity a Nerf dart loses its stability in flight. Part of his investigation is to determine the drag force on the Nerf dart at various velocities. Huge thanks to my colleague for preparing the wind tunnel, which is used in the R&D classes, for this student!



Day 75: Capstones! (Featuring Up! Inspired Calculations)

Today, I’m featuring one student who is calculating how many balloons would be required to lift a house as done in the movie Up!. We had some leftover helium from our recent high-altitutude balloon. I like his approach which starts with filling 13 balloons with helium and connecting them to a force sensor.



Day 74: Capstones! (Featuring Electric Motor Paradigm Lab)

AP Physics 2 students continued to work on their capstones. Today, I’ll feature one student’s capstone which is essentially a paradigm lab for an electric motor. We won’t study electromagnetism or electromagnetic induction until next semester. He saw a video showing how to build an eclectic motor and wanted to determine what affected the rotation of the armature. Maybe we’ll use his capstone when we investigate electric motors next semester. I like how he is using a photogate to measure the rotation of the armature.