Forces and Motion
1 Unit hook....Which falls first, the heavy object or the light one?
The students are shown two balls, one heavy and one light, and asked the hook question: Which falls first, the heavy object or the light one? After debate and prediction the experiment is run. Students will liely still have disagreements, but this will spark conversations.
I intriduce concepts of gravity, mass, and air resistance.
To demonstrate air resistance we try dropping two sheets of paper, one crumpled very tightly and one very loosely. Students can again make predictions and discuss the observed results.
2 Introducing the digital modelling tool: Algadoo
Students are introduced to Algodoo and shown how they can use it to make basic shapes.
All students work in partners to complete the 'tutorial for Noobs' (It is accessed on the splash screen or by clicking the '?' button. This tutorial will get the students ready to use Algodoo.
Students recreate the falling ball experiment in Algodoo. They can try it several times using different sizes and densities of objects. (Also have them try it with air resistance turned off.)
3 Friction Fun
Following this they conduct a series of experiments in this environment...Cubes sliding on a plane. Build a plane at 30 degrees angle to the horizon and then place a cube made of default material on it. WHat will happen when we press start. Try this again with cubes made of different materials and on planes of different angles.
Students will be able to model friction in Algodoo.
Student groups will be able to answer: Why does the rubber cube not slide, while the glass does at 30 degrees?
4 Potential and kinetic Energy/Transfer of energy
Using the same slopes from the earlier activity, students practice rolling balls down them. Does starting the ball higher up the ramp make it go faster or slower?
Introduce the class to the ideas of Potetial and Kinetic energy.
Students discuss how levels of these change from the start of their experiments (ball at the top of the ramp), in th emiddle , and at the end. Extend some groups to build another plane that the balls will roll up after rolling down the initial one. This allows them to explore converting kinetic energy into potential energy.
Build domino type block to place at the bottom of the ramps. What will happen to these when the ball rolls into them? Will it change if we increase the mass of the ball? or the slope of the plane? or the mass of the domino? Have each group create an explanation for this energy transfer.
5 Planning Movement
Groups are presented with the Amazing Alex app and asked to experiment with it. After some time to become comfortable, they are asked to prepare explanations for how they would solve one or more levels. These explanations are assessed for the students' ability to use the concepts of potenial energy, kinetic energy, friction, gravity, and energy transfer to describe their plan. (the actual effectiveness of the plan is not assessed.)