Day 41 – Developing Energy Equations

Today we did the “flavors” of energy discussion (a la Kelly at… this was fun as the kids had really great reactions to almost having a bowling ball dropped on their heads!

Next we decided to try to develop the equations in the lab – last year we just gave the equations and it ate me up inside!  The kids did super super well in the energy unit last year, so we decided to add elastic energy back into the mix, and develop the equations in the lab.

We created 3 different set-ups (3 each) for work, Eg and Ee.  Work is using a pulley system from our CPO system, Eg they just raised a mass, and Ee they will start with Hooke’s Law (traditional modeling approach).  We will also do an Ek with force sensor and motion detector, but due to difficulty and lack of equipment, I think we will do this as a demo at the end.

I divided them up and they got to work – took them about 35 minutes to finish one station…  some didn’t quite finish but that’s ok.  I anticipate the 2nd two will go faster once they get used to the idea of using the area under the F vs d graph to find the energy.  After some initial freaking out, and me telling them this was really hard and it was going to be ok, they produced some really nice work!  I can’t wait to tie it all together and hopefully hear them giving solid explanations!

Lab here:


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