Day 34: Physics 9 Oscillating Particle Paradigm Lab

New packet day! We finished our energy transfer packet, and now we are starting the oscillating particle model. For my 9th grade class, the focus of this unit is on experimental skills (mainly scientific abilities #2 and #4—designing an observational experiment and taking and analyzing data) and on viewing simple harmonic motion through an energy lens.

As we walked through the pre-lab discussion, we stopped each step of the way and had a brief meta-discussion to identify the process we were following.

  1. Hey, I want to show you something cool.
  2. Make observations.
  3. What can you measure—and what tool can you use to measure it?
  4. Which of those measurements can you choose values for?
  5. And which of those measurements depend on ones that you can choose values for?
  6. Eliminate anything that doesn’t fit into those categories.
  7. Identify the relationships you can find and write them as objectives for the experiment—”To find a relationship between _______ and ________.”


So we identified 3 experiments to do. The different groups started with different ones and figured out how to take their data. That was made a little more complicated by the fact that the school has somehow lost all of the lab stands that we own, so they had to be creative about how to hang their pendulums.

IMG_1927 IMG_1928 IMG_1930

During the course of the class, the mass-vs-swings per minute and the initial angle-vs-swings per minute groups stopped the class to announce their findings (that there was no relationship for either of those experiments). Then they picked up taking data on the length-vs-swings per minute experiment. At the end of class, some groups had started making graphs, but we have to wait until next time to have the post-lab discussion and to come up with the mathematical relationship.

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