Reflection: Student Led Inquiry Collisions - Section 4: Collision Activity


In the AP Physics 1 course, the College Board emphasizes inquiry instruction and mandates several inquiry labs throughout the year. This collision activity originally seems easy and juvenile, but when it's presented with such few instructions it becomes so much more meaningful. In all honesty, I've seen this activity done with middle school science classes, but there were detailed instructions included with the materials.

Specifically, this collision activity is asking students to CONFIRM that the law of conservation of momentum applies to collisions. However, even though students have an expected outcome, they must work to justify and prove that the law holds true. Developing and designing a procedure such as this not only satisfies the requirement of an AP inquiry lab, but it also addresses and develops the science and engineering practices of the NGSS.

  Inquiry Lab Benefits
  Student Led Inquiry: Inquiry Lab Benefits
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Unit 5: Linear Momentum
Lesson 5 of 9

Objective: Students will be able to explain how momentum is conserved in collisions.

Big Idea: The law of conservation of momentum gets applied to collisions.

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