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November 1, 2011

posted Nov 3, 2011, 8:29 AM by Scott Brunner   [ updated Nov 3, 2011, 8:31 AM ]
Room 158 of the Mark Jefferson Science Complex, Eastern Michigan University
Thank you to Dr. Beth Kubitskey, Dr. Norbert Vance and the rest of the EMU faculty and students for hosting a great meeting and for the exciting tours!


Timer ball - press the button/drop it and it stops time when it impacts the ground. Centripetal force swinging mass with force measuring device. Both available from Arbor Scientific, if not yet, then maybe soon?

Flip car - the car hits a wall flips over and comes back. Good for the investigating the difference between distance and displacement.

Arrange three push-pull spring scales attached to each other in a row. Instruct student volunteers to pull with different forces at either end (impossible!). Ask them to pull with the same force, and then have another read the force on the scale in the middle. Good tension/3rd Law demo. http://www.arborsci.com/Products_Pages/Measurement/SpringScales.aspx

Colliding cars with identical springs attached to colliding surfaces of the cars changing the mass of the carts, showing spring deflection is the same (3rd Law).

A ball is dropped from a building. How can we figure out how far it has gone without using a kinematics displacement equation? Solution: graph the simple velocity vs. time (10 m/s/s) line graph and easily calculate area underneath. Great for students with math gaps.

Have students tie washers or other masses along a string so when the string is stretched vertically and dropped the masses impact the ground at a constant rate, evidenced by the sound of impact (space according to 5, 20, 45, 80).

Have students tie 5, 20, 45, 80 cm strings with masses at the end evenly spaced along a meter stick. They can then visualize trajectories with ease by manipulating the angle of the meter stick!

Vernier video analysis using Logger Pro software and/or Tracker (freeware built on the OSP java platform for teachers) are good tools for students to create and interpret graphs and analyze motion using video of real-life action. Video analysis also works quite well in concert with other Vernier data collection devices, like force sensors. Students can capture video with cell phones, digital cameras, or they can analyze footage you provide. An alternative to desktop computer use is the Vernier Video Physics app for iPhone and iPad. With the app you can take a video on your device and do a full video motion analysis with graphs. You then have the option to email the analysis and work with it on a computer.

Our next meeting is December 6th at Macomb ISD. Email updates coming.

A member, via email, expressed concern about the selection of Tuesdays for the meetings. It was mentioned with no real solution to the concern so far. Informal discussion revealed that the meeting days are varied year-by-year.

Planetarium Tour
The new EMU planetarium is in a suspended sphere four floors over the new atrium in the new Mark Jefferson Science Complex. It is a beautiful facility.

Observatory Tour
We got to see Jupiter through the apochromatic refractor telescope on top of historic Sherzer Hall on a nice clear night, as well as the moon through a Schmidt–Cassegrain on the roof.