My students are creative, resilient, humorous, charming and intelligent ninth graders at an urban public school. We are officially a Level 4 under-performing school which means a huge focus on academics and raising test scores. We work hard to build students' basic skills while also incorporating fun, active and engaging ways to learn.
In my physics class, we do a lot of hands-on labs, investigations, and projects, and then students record what they learned in interactive notebooks.
For example, we examined how sound waves travel through different materials, then designed and tested PVC "airplane cabins" to see how well layers of clay, rubber, cork, cloth, or cotton balls can dampen sound waves from entering the cabin. Then we made foldable notebook pages showing the molecules in solids, liquids, and gases, and how sound waves move through vibrations in longitudinal waves.
My students need accurate ways to measure forces. I want students to be able to address real world engineering problems related to impulse-momentum theorem, but they can only do so if they can collect accurate data. By comparing the force over time for a variety of impacts, students can learn how helmets protect athletes' heads, why new cars have air bags and crumple zones, and why fragile objects get shipped in packing peanuts and styrofoam.
This force plate will make it possible for students to take measurements of forces when different objects hit different surfaces like carpet or vinyl flooring, and they will use that information to design a better cell phone case.
The LabQuest Mini will allow the force sensor data to be displayed on a computer screen. Instead of a trial-and-error impulse project like an egg drop, where the egg either survives or it doesn't, students will be able to test multiple designs and measure quantitative results.
My students love hands-on activities that let them explore and this force plate will help them do just that.
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