Reflection: Transitions Car and Ramp - Student Practice - Section 3: Student Activity (Lab)


I've added this activity, it wasn't something I did prior to teaching this unit. The first year I put this unit together I started with my students calculating velocity with Car and Ramp - Calculating Velocity and it was a very successful lab. With that success behind me I had my students calculate acceleration with Car and Ramp - Calculating Acceleration and it was a disaster. 

In my mind, calculating acceleration is only one step above calculating velocity. To my students the technique of calculating acceleration was far from intuitive. They were not able to transition from calculating velocity to calculating acceleration. I needed an activity where they could practice using one photogate without trying to perform any calculations, thus leading to this practice assignment.

I also added extra practice working with the required formulas and developed Calculating Velocity Practice and Calculating Acceleration Practice. Since adding these additional lessons the overall learning within the classroom is more productive and relaxed. 

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Car and Ramp - Student Practice

Unit 8: Motion
Lesson 1 of 6

Objective: Students will be able to gather data about the behavior of a car on a ramp as the car accelerates down the ramp.

Big Idea: Collecting data to calculate velocity and acceleration can be intimidating for young scientists. This activity is designed as a practice session using the equipment prior to collecting data to calculate velocity and acceleration.

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ramp and stand
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