There are plenty of resources on the web for reading about how to calculate stresses in a system of trusses. West Point has an activity I'd like to try in a physics class. Below is an example I have started … Continue reading

# Tag Archives: physics

In physics and calculus, we study radioactive decay processes. So as a lab, we could play around with some radioactive isotopes! For a variety of reasons, I settled for a simulation. That gives us the luxury of being able to … Continue reading

I badger my physics students about showing units with their calculations. And to be honest, sometimes we really don't need them. When I text my wife that "I'll be there in 10", she understands from the context that I mean … Continue reading

Aristotle believed that heavier objects naturally fall faster than lighter objects. His theory was no doubt based on what he observed. But he was not able to observe objects falling in a near-vacuum. Below are videos that show just this, … Continue reading

Springs can be stretched or compressed, and when this happens, they have potential energy. That energy is transformed into kinetic energy as the spring returns to its rest position. This lab allows students to observe a moving object encounter a … Continue reading

This lab can be used to observe the behavior of a brick sliding down a ramp. This complements the study of free body diagrams.

This lab can be used to investigate the relationship between velocity and the height above ground. We use it when studying potential and kinetic energy.

This lab can be used to investigate the relationship between velocity and the height above ground. We use it when studying potential and kinetic energy.

This lab can be used to investigate the relationship between velocity and the height above ground. We use it when studying potential and kinetic energy. The lab is based on Scratchy, the roller coaster riding cat. Clicking one of the … Continue reading

The Velocity and Time Lab allows gathering velocity and time data that students can use to determine average acceleration, and estimate instantaneous acceleration using slopes of the graph. They can also estimate how far the cars have traveled by finding … Continue reading

The Position and Time Lab allows gathering position and time data that students can use to determine average speed, and estimate instantaneous speed using slopes of the graph. In this lab, we will work the opposite direction. We have only … Continue reading

Ruth Chabay and Bruce Sherwood are authors of Matter & Interactions I: Modern Mechanics. I was introduced to this text when I sat in on a few sessions of Physics 160 at the University of Michigan. The course was taught … Continue reading

We are acquainted with the two-dimensional coordinate-plane in algebra class. We learn about graphing equations that have an input (or dependent) variable , and this input variable is associated with the horizontal axis. By habit, we refer to this as … Continue reading

For the study of motion, we usually look at position versus time, and perhaps draw some inferences about velocity and acceleration. This is relevant to situations where we know position. In the real world, we might be more interested in … Continue reading