Projects for High School Physics Teachers

Projects for High School Physics Teachers - How Far To My...

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How Far To My Mailbox? Need a real challenge for the kids in Fizzix class? Here's one. After doing a few basic vector LABS and activities and I'm convinced the kiddies have a grasp of vector concepts, I throw this at them. Here's the patented 'Taylor One-Line LAB'. Calculate the straight line distance (displacement) from the shotput on the DemoDesk to my mailbox in the front office. That's it. Plain and simple. The catch? Our building is sorta circular / hexagonal in shape, my lab room is in the rear of the building on the 2nd floor and the front office is in the front of the building on the 1st floor, there's a courtyard between us the kids are forbidden to enter for this activity, and they HAVE to show all work. Hmmm. Let's see. This is an exercise in 3-D vectors. The kids, in groups, of course, must put several vectors together in 2-D at once, usually all on the 2nd floor, let's call that the x-y plane, to form a side of a vector triangle to be used in the x-z plane. Most kids must take about 20 linear measurements including angles then put them together to form a final resultant. Lots-O- Work. NOTE TO MY KIDS; Read NO Further Than HERE... The really clever ones will track down a blueprint of the building available in the front office for visitors - a small map of both floors - measure to scale and pop the solution. Ballistix Chair! Do you have one of those little ballistics carts that shoots a steel ball straight up into the air while it rolls and the ball comes right back down into the "barrel" later? Showing independence of horizontal and vertical motion in 2-D? Yeah? So do I. THREE of them. Don't use them anymore. I've found a few problems with these over the years. 1. I lose the caulder pins so I have to make a new one or go buy one - and neither one ever fits right again! 2. I lose the whole dern cart! 3. The carts cost a whopping $77.00 EACH! Golly, for that I could hang out at my favorite WaWa for a WEEK! 4. The barrel mechanism gets a little rusty and/or a little crooked from falling off the demo desk during demos it was never designed for and the "pull back" of the caulder pin slows the cart too much and the demo doesn't work and the kid's all yell, "Ha Ha! You lied to us again, Mr. Taylor"! And my self-esteem is shattered and I get dismissed after a bout of heavy chocolate milk drinking and end up selling pencils on the street after my family leaves me and... Oh, never mind... I'm back now...
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So, since I don't want that to happen to you, here's a moldy oldy to demonstrate 2-D independence. I used to do this one back in my Delran days in the '80's. Other teachers thought I was wack-o for pushing kids down the hallway on desk chairs. I had forgotten all about this one till, just today, in my very own classroom, I saw Miss Justine Ruth , Justine's PhySci WebSite or email Justine , a rising star in science teaching, doing it as a demo for her 9th graders... Keep note of that name - she's gonna be a teaching star someday.
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