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Category archives for lab

Arduino Physics

This is so awesome – an arduino controlled fan cart. If you are not familiar with the arduino, basically it is just a very simple and cheap programmable chip. I have been meaning to play around with one of these, but really I am afraid. Afraid I will like it just a little too much.…

Simple Experiments with Friction

Now I get to do something with that force scale I built. I had a request some time ago to talk about friction. Friction is surprisingly complicated. When two surfaces rub against each other, why is there a friction force? The basic answer is that the stuff the two surfaces are made of (atoms) are…

DIY Force probe

I was thinking about some experiments that deal with friction and I wanted to show something with a force probe. The problem is that most people don’t have one of these. So, I decided to try and make one out of simple things. In this case, I am using some straws, a rubber band and…

LEGO plus Slinky = Physics

What happens when your kids won’t give you a turn on the Wii? Simple. You take their LEGO bricks and their slinky and do some physics. I will keep this simple. Basically, I created a slinky holder out of LEGO pieces and added LEGO bricks to the end to stretch it. Here is the video.…

Lab: The Charge of an Electron

Not really. Here are the details (and some data) for the Millikan Oil Drop Experiment without the oil drop that I talked about previously (originally from The Physics Teacher – lucky you, it was a featured article so it should still be available (pdf)). The basic idea that Lowell McCann and Earl Blodgett from U…

Circular Motion Lab

Sometimes it is difficult to come up with new labs. Ideally, a lab should show use some of the basic physics principles as well as have something the students can measure. What to do with circular motion? I don’t know how I forgot this, but here is a lab I used to do as an…

Rutherford scattering toy, and more

My friend Konrad showed me this awesome toy he made. I know it doesn’t make sense yet, so let me explain. Basically, you take this marble and roll it down the tray through the pegs. The pegs sort of randomize where the marble rolls through the hidden section. Inside the hidden section, it looks like…

I don’t really know what that title actually means. So, I have been having problems with my PASCO projectile launcher devices. I will just call them launchers (they are really cannons). In my previous post, I looked at the launch speed from a launcher shot horizontally and vertically. The problem was that I was getting…

The last time I looked at this projectile motion lab, I was confused. My different methods for measuring the launch speed of the ball were not even close to being consistent. So, I am bringing out the big guns – video. I made a video of the ball shot both horizontally off the table and…

This is really a lab that I have students do, but I am pretty sure they don’t read this blog – so it is ok. If they are reading this, hi! We have these projectile cannons that shoot small balls. In order to look at projectile motion, they need to first determine the launch speed…