Module #1: Roller Coasters and Conservation of Momentum – Friday October 28, 2011
For the first week of START science presentations, the Physics group talked about energy. It was all about energy really: how it’s conserved, easily converted into other forms and how it powers everything in our lives. To really appreciate the effects of conservation of energy and friction, the students were shown a major application. Everyone was given tracks and were told to design their own roller coasters, to test whether the cars had enough energy to get over the hills and loops the students designed. With everyone busy dropping the cars on the tracks and setting up new and creative designs, the time just flew by, leaving all of us waiting for next week.
Module #2: Coaster Building (Conservation of Energy) – Friday November 18, 2011
Module #3: Circuits – Friday December 23, 2011
In this physics module, students learned about the flow of electricity in circuits. In a simple circuit with a battery and a light bulb, we showed that current only flows when the circuit is closed. We also measured that current using an ammeter. We then introduced the concept of short-circuiting, where the electricity can choose to travel on two paths. Students saw that most of the electricity went the “easy” route, while only a little went through the light bulb. As a result, the light stopped shining, but we could use the ammeter to show that there was still some current even through the bulb.