Day 104 – Calculating Energy

calcEnergy.PNG
Physics 11 – Today I was away from class again so a TOC came in to cover. The main task for the day was for the physics students to learn how to calculate kinetic and gravitational energy.

Ideally I would like students to work through this by doing two experiments, having already learned that Es = 1/2 k x^2

  1. launch a spring loaded cart using different springs and measure the speed that results
  2. launch a spring loaded cart up a ramp using different springs and see how high it goes

Both of these activities really require a decent cart with spring (ie little friction) and a motion sensor for the speed.  Especially for task #1 we would need a decent computer for quickly graphing the data and manipulating the graphs.

This kind of activity would take at least two classes and probably three.  The question I wonder is whether it’s worth it.  Research says yes but it’s also about value systems.  We can spend a lot of time going deep on topics and using good process skills, or we can move through the topics quickly and maybe work on some interesting and creative (engineering) projects.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s