Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Physics Experiments

We've been doing a few experiments lately in "C's Science Workshop". Most of these have been inspired by minute physics videos, and Mythbusters. But a fair chunk of that inspiration and experimentation has come from this awesome physics simulator.

This has inspired C to try some classic potential and kinetic energy experiments. Some of the questions he has had to ponder when designing, setting up and implementing his experiments include:

Setting up a ramp:
Should it be short and wide, or long and thin?
How high should the ramp go?
Should it be smooth or bumpy?
How do we start them rolling, do we need a pulley/gate system?
Do we need a second ramp?
How do we stop J sitting on the ramp?

Setting up the things to roll:
Trialling knock-out/elimination experiments to find the fastest toy car.
Testing out various balls shapes, sizes and densities to answer the question, which rolls the fastest?

Setting up the measurement:
Should we measure from the bottom of the ramp, or the top?
Should the front or back of cars be aligned in elimination rounds?
What type of tape-measure - can it be in cm, or does it need mm accuracy?
How long should the tape measure go?
Can distance be used as a measure of energy dissipated?

Energy Transference - Rolling one ball down the ramp and impacting another:
Do beach-balls impacting on tennis balls (or metal meditation balls) transfer more energy, or visa versa?
Is it better if the balls are the same size, or different?
What if they're the same size, but different weights?
How do we measure distance if the objects don't travel in a straight line?

This was an awful lot of fun for everyone, and it was lovely to see C recreating such a classic experiment.

What physics experiments have you tried at home?

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