the Physics Education Technology Project
This middle school lesson with student guide was designed for use with the PhET simulation Masses & Springs. It is a ready-to-use, inquiry-based activity for introducing the concepts of frequency and period in an oscillating object. Students will be using the tools in the simulation to help them solve a real-world question about designing a bungee jump for an amusement park.
See Related Materials for a link to the simulation, which must be open in order to complete the activity.
This resource is part of the Physics Education Technology Project (PhET), an extensive collection of interactive simulations designed to support the teaching of physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics.
Please note that this resource requires
Java Applet Plug-in.
Metadata instance created
October 18, 2011
by Caroline Hall
September 21, 2012
by Caroline Hall
Last Update when Cataloged:
August 20, 2009
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
3. The Nature of Technology
3B. Design and Systems
3-5: 3B/E2. Even a good design may fail. Sometimes steps can be taken ahead of time to reduce the likelihood of failure, but it cannot be entirely eliminated.
6-8: 3B/M4a. Systems fail because they have faulty or poorly matched parts, are used in ways that exceed what was intended by the design, or were poorly designed to begin with.
6-8: 3B/M4b. The most common ways to prevent failure are pretesting of parts and procedures, overdesign, and redundancy.
4. The Physical Setting
4E. Energy Transformations
6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
9-12: 4E/H1. Although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.
6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
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.
9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
9-12: 4F/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.
4G. Forces of Nature
3-5: 4G/E1. The earth's gravity pulls any object on or near the earth toward it without touching it.
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
Measurement and Data (K-5)
Represent and interpret data. (1-5)
2.MD.10 Draw a picture graph and a bar graph (with single-unit scale) to represent a data set with up to four categories. Solve simple put-together, take-apart, and compare problems using information presented in a bar graph.
3.MD.4 Generate measurement data by measuring lengths using rulers marked with halves and fourths of an inch. Show the data by making a line plot, where the horizontal scale is marked off in appropriate units— whole numbers, halves, or quarters.
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Periodic and Simple Harmonic Motion Unit Title: Conservation of Energy and Forces on a Spring
An excellent lesson plan developed specifically to go with the PhET simulation Masses & Springs. It's a ready-to-use, inquiry-based activity for introducing frequency and period. Students will be using the tools in the simulation to help them solve a real-world question: Can you design a safe bungee jump? (Link to the simulation can be found in "Activities" below.)
King, K. (2009, August 20). PhET Teacher Activities: Introduction to Oscillations. Retrieved November 26, 2015, from Physics Education Technology Project: http://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2945
%0 Electronic Source %A King, Karen %D August 20, 2009 %T PhET Teacher Activities: Introduction to Oscillations %I Physics Education Technology Project %V 2015 %N 26 November 2015 %8 August 20, 2009 %9 application/ms-word %U http://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2945
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