This is a set of three web-based labs for grades 7-9 relating to the energy of moving objects. In the first two labs, students use a virtual catapult to hurl objects of varying mass, from a pebble to a wrecking ball. Initial velocity can be changed with a slider. After each toss, a table is displayed showing the mass in kilograms, the speed in meters/second, and the energy in Joules. The activities are designed to clarify the relationships among mass, initial speed of object thrown, and energy. The final lab introduces very small objects moving at high speeds: a paramecium, bacteria, virus, proton, and electron. The lab guides students to challenge their own thinking as they see that different rules seem to govern the movement of these tiny objects.
Editor's Note: Lab 3 is expected to create conflict in the student's mind about the concepts they just learned in Labs 1 and 2. Your students will actually be exploring Special Relativity, where the laws of Newtonian mechanics do not apply. Students who struggled with the concepts in Labs 1 and 2 may be unable to complete Lab 3 without extensive teacher intervention.
This item is part of a larger collection of interactive Java labs developed for use in middle school and high school. See Related items on this page for a link to the full collection.
catapult, cognitive dissonance, energy, nanoscale , projectile, relativity, special relativity
Metadata instance created
September 19, 2010
by Caroline Hall
August 2, 2016
by Lyle Barbato
Last Update when Cataloged:
July 31, 2008
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
1. The Nature of Science
1A. The Scientific Worldview
6-8: 1A/M2. Scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories and as a new theory leads to looking at old observations in a new way.
4. The Physical Setting
9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)
1. THE NATURE OF SCIENCE
B. Scientific Inquiry
1B (6-8) #1. Scientists differ greatly in what phenomena they study and how they go about their work. Although there is no fixed set of steps that all scientists follow, scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant evidence, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected evidence.
4. THE PHYSICAL SETTING
D. The Structure of Matter
4D (9-12) #2. The nucleus, a tiny fraction of the volume of an atom, is composed of protons and neutrons, each almost two thousand times heavier than an electron. The number of positive protons in the nucleus determines what an atom's electron configuration can be and so defines the element. In a neutral atom, the number of electrons equals the number of protons. But an atom may acquire an unbalanced charge by gaining or losing electrons.
%0 Electronic Source %A Sokolsky, Pierre %D July 31, 2008 %T ASPIRE: Kinetic Energy %V 2016 %N 29 August 2016 %8 July 31, 2008 %9 application/flash %U http://aspire.cosmic-ray.org/Labs/KineticEnergy/
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