Showing posts with label mechanics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mechanics. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pushing Things Around—A new PhET Activity

Seems like I've been out for a bit. Reconfiguring the Physics curriculum in the transition to NGSS leads to occasional jags of spontaneous development. Not nearly as exciting as that makes it sound. But it keeps me off the blog nonetheless.

Here's something I developed for instruction after Newton's First Law/Inertia and before our full-on Newton's Second Law lab.

It's intended to scaffold some existing knowledge and suggest a = F/m. It uses PhET's "Forces and Motion Basics" sim (not to be confused with the "Forces and Motion" sim—that's a different sim).

Here's the sim:

Forces and Motion: Basics
Click to Run

Here's the sim's page at PhET.

And here's my lab: Pushing Things Around.

I hope to get it set into my own PhET Tech Labs page sometime soon. Patience!

Monday, November 25, 2013

A lesson to accompany Understanding Car Crashes

Understanding Car Crashes: It's Basic Physics was produced by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2000. They've done what they could to make sure no physics classroom is without the VHS or DVD. In 2010, they uploaded the 22-minute, Griff Jones-hosted video to YouTube.

I always liked it, but didn't know where to use it. This year I was able to carve out a few days between the last unit test of the first semester and final exams. My first semester is all mechanics, all the time. So it seemed like a good match.

Here's my student worksheet: YouTube Physics: Danger and Safety in Car Crashes

And here's the video, itself.

Understanding Car Crashes: It's Basic Physics

My lesson continues after the video is over by inviting students to research vehicle safety ratings for two cars they might ride in at IIHS's website (

By the way, if you haven't seen my YouTube Physics page, check it out. You'll find even more engaging video lessons.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Challenge: A penetrating puzzle that could spin your mind

Apparently today's theme is "Shooting bullets into things... for science!"

Take a look at this mechanics puzzle, presented in a YouTube video. You'll need to render a prediction to see the outcome.

The solution? You're on your own for that.

Hat tip: Laurie Miller Tarr

20 kg of metal at Mach 1 meets 10 Mg of ice

And hilarity physics ensues.

The European Space Agency slammed a jet-pack accelerated, 20-kg "penetrator" into a 10-metric tone ice cube.

They had their reasons.

The impact decelerated the penetrator to the tune of 24,000 gs. Some folks pass out if exposed to 10 gs, and the human body loses structural integrity around 30 gs (300 m/s^2).

In addition to the obvious grooviness, I see introductory physics problems for homework and tests. You?

Hat tip: Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Baker Street: El Camino physics teacher honored by AMTA

My friend and fellow San Juan Unified physics teacher, Bob Baker, recently won an award for instructional innovation.

The American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) recognized the El Camino High School teacher as winner of its April Apparatus competition.

El Camino teacher earns nod for innovative "street sled" lessons

Design and instructional details are posted at the AMTA's site.

Congratulations, Bob!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Hewitt-Drew-it! RR Wheels

Paul links the linear-rotational speed relation to an explanation of why railroad trains stay on tracks via tapered wheel rims.

Hewitt-Drew-it! PHYSICS 35. RR Wheels

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Hewitt-Drew-it! Circular Motion

Paul discusses his father working as a ticket collector in a merry-go-round and ties this to a Burl-Grey problem involving circular motion.

Hewitt-Drew-it! PHYSICS 34.. Circular Motion

Monday, April 01, 2013

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hewitt-Drew-it! Conservation of Energy

In this screencast, Paul extends the block of ice on a ramp to a bead sliding down a wire, to the motion of acrobats Ari, Bari, and their dog Bo.

Hewitt-Drew-it! PHYSICS 31. Conservation of Energy

Monday, February 25, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hewitt-Drew-it! Work and Potential Energy

In this screencast, Paul illustrates work and potential energy via a barbell and other vertical lifts, and the energy states of a simple pendulum.

Hewitt-Drew-it! PHYSICS 28. Work and Potential Energy

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Hewitt-Drew-it! Conservation of Momentum

In this screencast, Paul shows how Newton's laws lead to the impulse-momentum relationship, which then leads to the conservation of momentum.

Hewitt-Drew-it! PHYSICS 25. Conservation of Momentum