Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Investigative Science

NMHS science teacher Ms Tahreen Chowdhury taught the work-energy unit through investigative science learning process. The students started off the unit smashing pieces of chalk using different methods such as a wood block, rolling cart and sling shot.  From this activity students developed the idea that a system of objects can have different types of chalk smashing ability based on their location, speed, and stretch/compressibility. 

Image credit: http://www.vrml.k12.la.us/1st/homework/science/science1un3.htm

Once the students related all the experiments to an objects’ ability to do something (i.e. smash chalk or make the touching surfaces of two objects in a system warm), Ms Chowdhury introduced their scientific terms of gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, spring/elastic energy, and internal energy. Ms Chowdhury encouraged the students to develop their own names for these energies so they internalize the meaning better. Some of the names that the students developed were Apollo (gravitational potential energy), Sonic (kinetic energy), Elastigirl (spring/elastic energy), and Charmandar (internal energy). 

Then with the students assisting, Ms Chowdhury introduced the equations that represent each of the energies and took them through activities that helped the students developed the work-energy conservation theorem. To top it all off, Ms Chowdhury had a roller coaster building project for the students. Their task was to build a roller coaster for a marble with one loop and two humps; they were also required to utilize their knowledge of work-energy to find the speed of the marble at any three locations on the track. The students put together Prezi presentations that walk viewers through the building process and how the concept of energy is related to building a functioning roller coaster. 

You can view on the of the Prezi's that the students created HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Very informative post. Keep up the good work. I would really look forward to your other posts
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