Mechanical Energy Lab Conclusion Writing
Lesson 7 of 11
Objective: SWBAT write a detailed conclusion about mechanical energy, position and mass using evidence from prior lab activities.
This lesson is a chance for students to write a detailed conclusion using information and evidence they've collected from the previous two lesson/lab activities: Mechanical Energy and Mass and Mechanical Energy and Position. This lesson addresses SP7 as students are required to support their claims about mass, position and mechanical energy with data from their lab activities. Each student will need the student notes sheet for this lesson and their work for the previous two lessons.
To start, each student will individually respond to the following prompt:
For lab 1 (mass and ME), which car had the MOST mechanical energy?
For lab 2 (position and ME), which car had the MOST mechanical energy?
After about 3-4 minutes, I ask 1-2 students to share out their responses to the entire class, settling any disagreements with responses that may arise.
I have them answering such simple questions, because I want them to recall what they've done in the previous 2 lessons. I also want them to identify the location of information like this in their lab sheets as it will help them to answer the next series of questions.
Now students extract important and relevant data from their previous mechanical energy lab sheets. An important part of writing involves citing previous sources. For students with difficulties in writing and for English language learners, it helps to have all of the relevant information they may use later all in one location.
Each student answers the following questions on their notes sheet, on their own. They use their previous lab sheets as references.
Lab 1 (Mass and ME)
When you increased the mass (added more weights), what happened to the speed of the cart?
When you decreased the mass (took away weights), what happened to the speed of the cart?
Lab 2 (Position and ME)
When you increased the position (used the higher ramp release), what happened to the speed of the cart?
- When you lowered the position (used the lower ramp release), what happened to the speed of the cart?
After 5 minutes or so, I ask the students to share their responses with their shoulder partner (person closest to their right shoulder). If there is any disagreement in their data, they will show their partner where they found their data in their lab sheet just to double check the accuracy.
To summarize the answers they found in the Explore section, students will now use that data to answer the following questions:
Mechanical energy is increased when…
- Mechanical energy is decreased when…
Here I am looking specifically for the following answers...
1. Mechanical energy is increased when either mass or position are increased.
2. Mechanical energy is decreased when either mass or position are decreased.
After the students have had 3-4 minutes to answer these questions on their own, I will ask a few of them to share with the whole class and make sure that we agree with the responses, as a class.
Oftentimes, students who have trouble writing (especially conclusions) will struggle with the order in which to put their information. To eliminate this problem, I am asking the students to respond to the following questions in order to help them organize their evidence and ideas. All of this information is either gathered from previously answered questions in this assignment of from the data in the previous 2 lab activities.
Write a summary and conclusion for the lab activity by completing the following statements below. Use data from your lab sheets and answers from all of the questions and statements completed above.
- Explain what we did (the procedure) for the Lab 1 (mass and ME).
- In lab 1 (mass and ME), which cart was the fastest?
- What was the speed of the fastest cart?
- In lab 1 (mass and ME), which cart was the slowest?
- What was the speed of the slowest cart?
- In conclusion, when we increase the mass (add more weight), we are doing what to the mechanical energy?
- Explain what we did (the procedure) for the Lab 2 (position and ME).In lab 2 (position and ME), which cart was the fastest? What was the speed of the fastest cart?
- In lab 2 (position and ME), which cart was the slowest?
- What was the speed of the slowest cart?
- In conclusion, when we increase the position (add more height), we are doing what to the mechanical energy?
Students will share their responses with their shoulder partners when they are finished. They will check their partner's work for completion and for complete sentences.
As a wrap-up and final check for understanding, I ask the kids the following question:
What two things can you change in order to increase the mechanical energy for an object?
The answer: mass or the position of an object.