More with Machines and the Laws of Physics
We began class this week with a review of the basic physics involved with the design and use of the catapults students built as part of their homework assignment.
Students should be able to clearly articulate the concepts of force, work, kinetic and potential energy, and Newton's three laws of motion, as they relate to this simple machine, known as a lever.
We discussed the effectiveness of the simple catapult design and ways students had found to increase the distance they could launch a mini-marshmallow using their device. Most of the students determined that increasing the length of the effort arm (by moving the spoon and/or the location of the fulcrum) would increase the distance and thus the work performed by the catapult. And a special thank you to Kate, who brought in a more complex catapult design she had created for another class and demonstrated it's ability to launch a marshmallow clear across the classroom!
Homework and Science Fair Projects
For homework this week, students should read Chapters 18 and 19. Next class we will look at the amazing work of Eratosthenes and his estimation of the Earth's circumference.
I have also asked that they spend time thinking about and deciding upon a topic for their end-of-semester individual projects. I am asking each student to prepare a 'science fair' type project to be presented at our last class (5/20). Students should look through the many diverse topics covered in the text which relate to the development of science from ancient through medieval times. I strongly encourage students to choose a topic that ties in with their own personal interests, whether it be literature, art, architecture, computer science, math theory, languages, or the accomplishments of a specific scientist/philosopher. Students may research and prepare a report, create an experiment, build a model to illustrate a scientific principle, or any other approach they desire. Be creative and have fun! We will enjoy learning about each others topics on our last day of class.
Please come to class with one or more ideas for your project so that I may approve the idea before you move forward.