Sunday, October 25, 2009

Elkton Middle School Physics Lab! Part II

Execution of the plan:

When we got to Elkton Middle School we started with the Lenz’s tube. Rick tricked the students into thinking that if the person holding the tube was better at sports, than the metal slug would fall slower, which really got the boys upset when they found out the girls were better at sports than them. Of course we had to tell them the truth that he had been switching the metal slug with a magnet, but made a perfect lead into that day’s activities. We then broke the students up into two groups of four where one group would be building and experimenting with electromagnets and the other group would be doing Galileo’s experiment.

The students loved building the electromagnets and it sounded like Laura and Curtis were running their own little gossip table, but it wasn’t gossip, it was physics. It seemed to really peak their interest when after building their electromagnets, they actually worked and in fact had a little competition going to see who could get more paper clips on their magnet. Our winner of the day with a total of 80 paper clips (the picture to the right shows about 25 paper clipsThen they were asked why some people would have more paper clips than others, showing them that more coils would actually produce a stronger magnet. The students were also asked if this effect could happen backwards, or if you could use a magnet to create a current by moving that magnet through a coil of wire.

While Rick was running Galileo’s experiment all we heard was a constant 1….2….3….GO, as they were trying to synchronize their stopwatches to when they were dropping the carts down the tracks. There were constant measurements being taken of the height of the drop to how far is rolling down the hill to how much time does it take to get there. They were really excited to see that when they put their data that they measured into the excel program, they were able to get really close to the acceleration due to gravity. We were able to get 9.5 m/s2 and 10.5 m/s2 by running this experiment, which was really close.

Then we brought all of the students back together to show how what they researched today helped them out with solving their initial problem of how the Lenz’s Tube worked, with the induced magnetic force pushing back up against the force of gravity to slow it down!