Sunday, October 25, 2009

Elkton Middle School Physics Lab!

Planning out the strategy:

Laura Simone, Curtis White, Rick Dunlap
went to Elkton Middle School with Lynn Lucatorto to share a little physics. Here's there story:

We wanted to find a unique way of explaining Lenz’s Tube to middle school students that would break it down to help them to see the forces that acted on the magnet as it fell through the aluminum tube. To do this we needed to look at the electromagnetic force as well as the gravitational force. We decided to break it down into two labs: building and testing electromagnets and Galileo’s experiment to find the acceleration due to gravity.

The idea of electromagnets was thought up as a great way to show the relationship between electricity and magnetism as well as it would a great project for each of the students to make and would be able to take home with them. Curtis and Laura had to figure out what materials were needed and what was necessary during the construction to make sure that it went smoothly. A simple idea was to wrap a copper wire around a non-galvanized nail and connect it to a D battery.
Galileo’s experiment for finding “g” by rolling balls down an inclined plane was used because up until this point the students know that gravity is pulling them down, but did not know how fast. So this would give them the chance to measure “g” themselves.

To do this, Rick set up a frictionless track and cart on a movable stand that would allow the students to change the height and therefore chance the angle that it dropped at. They would then be able to time each drop at each angle. The math did seem a bit difficult so an excel spreadsheet was created to help them out with that.