A request was made (via our PTSOS discussion group) for outdoor activities that might be fun during weird days that seem to crop up at the end of the school year.
The ever-resourceful Los Gatos physics teacher and PTSOS leader, Dan Burns, suggested the following.
I like stomp rockets. Measure the distance to the launch, the angle it makes at apogee to the horizontal, calculate height. Measure time in air, calculate height and initial velocity.
Make pinhole cameras and use them to determine the diameter of the Sun.
Get in a line and spin in a circle. Each student calculates their angular and linear velocity.
Bang a drum twice per sec, students walk away until they hear the sound at the same time the drum is hit. Measure that distance, divide by 0.5 to get the speed of sound.
Make water balloon launchers out of surgical tubing. Calculate the force constant, the elastic potential stored, predict initial velocity and time in air if launched vertically. Then predict max range.
Have students push a car on a flat surface using bathroom scales. Drop beanbags at regular time intervals. Measure acceleration of car using the force applied and mass, compare to acceleration derived from pattern of beanbag separation.
Perform Herschel's experiment that detected IR radiation using glass prisms and thermometers.
Jump rope generator, rotate loop of wire like a big jumprope that is hooked to a galvanometer. See it generate current using earth's magnetic field. See Conceptual Physics Manual.