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Friday, March 11, 2016



 

The Physics Science Classroom

innovation, creativity and inspiration

 

Since Monday my physics students have begun working on a new engineering design project that will culminate in independent research, new experimental methodologies and group presentations of their results among peers.
This learning opportunity, for physics students, provides the venue by which they can utilize their knowledge and understanding to solve real-world problems.  The open-ended format of this challenge allows students to innovate and be creative in their approach to tackling problems and offering solutions.
The Pitsco Torsion and Trebuchet Catapult kits help to provide the context for this investigative process.  Students apply concepts that they have learned with respect to motion, force and energy and fashion relationships expressed within factors that contribute to the dynamics of motion.  The ultimate challenge for students is to maximize the performance of their catapult with respect to clearly defined parameters.
Students are given a free-hand in what they plan to investigate, how the investigation will be performed, what factor will be tested and how will the data be assessed.  It is a time for students to clearly express deep understanding of the physics that they have learned and to develop the abilities to fully express themselves as competent scientific investigators.
A few other teams of students are researching wind turbine blades that will be attached to Pitsco Wind Turbines that are constructed in class.  Energy conservation in the residential home is another line of research that some teams are pursing.  This is a time for students to put to the test their abilities and to embrace the relevance and rigor of the scientific process.
In this project I am stressing quality over quantity and I have high hopes in witnessing substantial growth in their abilities to produce quality research and to present their findings at a high level of proficiency.  :)


                                          
                                          Students determine which independent variable
                                          will be investigated to maximize performance of the catapult.




                                         Students collaborate on different aspects of the construction
                                         and planning process for this scientific investigation.



                                         Students perform pre-lab analysis of the catapult
                                          and document their experimental design methodology
                                          along with writing a hypothesis for this investigation.





                                          The Pitsco Trebuchet and Torsion Catapults
                                           are readied for testing as students finish construction
                                           and begin their investigation into relationships
                                            between independent variables and the resulting
                                            dependent variable outcomes.





                                            The testing has already begun for teams of students 
                                             researching and designing new wind turbine blades.

                                             Blade design is the focus of this investigation
                                              as students attempt to optimize electrical energy
                                              production from the operation of Pitsco Wind Turbines
                                              in the science classroom.








Students begin to test the independent variable
from which they constructed an experimental hypothesis.
The catapult are utilized as an experimental apparatus for the testing of mass and applied tension.






Newly constructed Pitsco catapults made ready for launch!



An electric fan is employed to create a consistent stream of air striking the wind turbine.
  

Wind turbine blades are fashioned out of balsa wood.



Pitsco Wind Turbines are utilized to test the performance of new wind turbine blade designs





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