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.)

IMG_1798

Pencil and red pen is the student's. Blue pen is my writing. Not too shabby for 4 classes in on learning energy, and I'm really glad the bird lived!
Pencil and red pen is the student’s. Blue pen is my writing. Not too shabby for 4 classes in on learning energy, and I’m really glad the bird lived!

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.

IMG_0025

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.

IMG_0027

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.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 7.33.38 PM

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.

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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 )

Connecting to %s