Teacher’s Talk: Physics (Week 1)

It has been quite a busy week in the Physics class! From introductions, to builds, to labs, this week has flown by.

On Monday, we covered basic measurements, scientific notation, velocity, and acceleration. The students started on their first build- the model airplane; they also started to read The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett. This book gives the history of science within an interesting story about wizards; it also gives the students insight for our field trips.

By Tuesday, we finished acceleration and covered vectors, and used vector tables in the lab for a better demonstration. We learned about the famous Monkey Gun Experiment, and completed the Flight around America lab. Students were given a set of coordinates and a map, and had to use vectors to “fly” around America.

Wednesday was all about projectiles and Newton’s Laws; we covered the first two laws and learned about simple forces. The students were assigned their first Physics Challenge: the Egg Drop. Students have a week to build the lightest contraption for their egg to survive a fall from a tall building. They can use whatever materials they want, so long as the egg actually makes it to the ground in one piece. The one with the lightest successful mechanism wins!

On Thursday, we covered Newton’s Third Law, free body diagrams, work, power, and energy through the use of several demonstrations and labs. Students were given a set of demonstration challenges to complete using Newton’s Laws: making a dime fall into a beaker by removing a wooden hoop, removing a dollar between two glass coke bottles, and the famous magic trick- removing a table cloth from under a set of dishes.

Friday recapped what we learned this week through the second Physics Challenge: the Slow Balloon Race. Students had to figure out a way for their helium balloon to reach the ceiling in the longest amount of time possible. It had to make it to the ceiling; if it floated back down or hovered halfway, it failed the challenge. The winner was the White Team with around ten seconds! The class also took a diagnostic exam to see how much they have retained this week.  This has been such a great week one and we are ready for week 2 to begin!

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