Physics Labs

Potential and Kinetic Energy: The Roller Coaster Lab

This lab illustrates the type of energy conversions that are experienced on a roller coaster, and as a method of enhancing the students’ understanding of that concept, they will create their own roller coasters to test out their ideas.

Projectiles: Target Practice

In this lab, students will learn about projectile motion and the force of gravity by shooting a projectile across the room with a rubber band and calculating how far it flies. Through various measurements, they will learn about and calculate such properties as elasticity, velocity, and potential/kinetic energy.

Harmonic Motion: Pendulum Lab

In this lab, students will study pendulums – systems that swing back and forth under the pull of gravity. They will explore the factors that affect how fast a pendulum swings and will also observe resonance (increasing vibrations), which occurs when a pendulum is pushed by a force that happens to exactly match its natural

Optics: The Laser Lab

In this lab, students will look at three behaviors of light when it interacts with obstacles: reflection, refraction, and diffraction. They will measure the speed of light in Jello using Snell’s law, model a fiberoptic cable with jello, and measure the width of a hair and/or the spacing between grooves on a CD using diffraction

Kinematics: The Gravity Lab

This lab explores the motion of falling objects. Students will use a microphone and computer to accurately measure short time intervals. This will allow them to see how the distance traveled by a falling object varies with time, to determine the magnitude of gravitational acceleration, and to show how heavy and light objects fall at

Viscosity: The Fluid Lab

In this lab, students will engage in a variety of activities that demonstrate the properties of different fluids.