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Physical Sciences — Study and Teaching (Middle School)
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1.

Making an Impact [electronic resource]

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What would happen if an asteroid were to hit the surface of the earth? How large a crater would the impact create? In this workshop, the ideas of force and motion are introduced, as seventh-grade students drop balls to simulate asteroid impacts. By varying a ball s mass, the height from which it is dropped, or the material being struck, the students explore what factors affect the size of the crater. They also learn about data collection and the proper use of measurement units.
Online
2001
2.

When Rubber Meets the Road [electronic resource]

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A rubber band twisted around the axle of a plastic car provides the force that moves the car forward. In this workshop, fifth-grade students continue their exploration of force and motion by recording and comparing the distance a vehicle travels under various conditions. Students predict the distance the car will travel by counting the number of twists in the rubber band, and observe the car s speed as it rolls across the floor. When the force of the rubber band stops acting, the force of friction slows the car to a stop.
Online
2001
3.

Keep on Rolling [electronic resource]

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Roller coasters are filled with twists and turns, as changes in height and direction supply a variety of push and pull forces. In this workshop, first-grade students build on their prior experience with rolling objects. By designing and constructing their own roller coaster made from ramps, cardboard tubes, and flexible tubes, the students experiment with ways to get a marble from the top of a table into a bucket on the floor, some distance away.
Online
2001
4.

Bend and Stretch [electronic resource]

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In this workshop, students in a high school classroom explore ideas about tension and normal force. By applying a force to a spring and measuring the distance the spring is stretched, the students calculate the force constant or stretchiness of the spring. Lecture demonstrations using student volunteers help to illustrate that even rigid objects bend when a force is applied.
Online
2001