*Physics 11* – It was a long road, but today the students finally finished their unbalanced forces lab analysis. This took a lot more time than I had expected, and I would say that the work ethic has been pretty good. Lots of kids were getting a bit mixed up with their data and calculations, so there were several times where I would grab their data tables and quickly calculate acceleration and graph in Excel. I had thought about showing kids how to use Excel, Desmos or Plotly, but opted to stick with pencil and paper. Learning to use this kind of software would take another day of time. Heck, I even find Plotly and Desmos confusing at times.

I’m really wondering if it is worth all of this time to do a lab on unbalanced forces….

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I stopped doing this lab a number of years ago for exactly the reasons you outline–a low yield for the expended time. I felt that after the 10th ticker tape, students were turning into data slaves. Unfortunately, I don’t have a class set of sensors, so I do it as a class demonstration instead. I continue to struggle to find high yield labs.

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