Day 13: Ug-o-meters and a New Energy Experiment in Physics 9

Today’s 9th grade physics class started off with students writing notes on their free quizzes. (Not graded—just feedback.)

Then we went back to figuring out how to do some experiments to determine the equations for some flavors of energy. Since they all have iPads, we’re trying to use Video Physics to take data.

To crack open the problem, they need to know some quantity of energy. (Without them knowing any other mechanics, I needed to find something for them to use as a starting place.) So I invented a new measuring tool—the Ug-o-meter. It is an upgraded meter stick that displays the value of Ug for one particular object at a variety of heights (with y = 0 meters being the bottom of the meter stick).

We navigated seemingly endless tech problems (for example: when they wanted to air drop their data to each other, they discovered that every one of these school-given iPads is called “iPad”). We downloaded Graphical Analysis and pulled our data into it, then we were stumped for a while about what we could do with it there.

We found the table, and that seemed the most useful for finding the speeds at the five places where we knew the value of Ug. Then we ran out of time, so they are coming in with those 5 numbers tomorrow. We will try our hands at Desmos next. I did a little preview work for myself just now to see how it might work.

This was all a little much for the first experiments in physics, but they were good sports about everything, and we’ll get some more useful (AKA less-guidance-needed-from-me) lab work in our next unit (oscillating particles). And I get three more tries at this experiment later in the year, so they are helping me learn a lot on this first-time-through.