Modeling A Physical Pendulum – Another Adventure in Coding Nature

Rotational Dynamics Are Difficult to Learn… and to Teach One of the most difficult units for AP Physics students is rotational mechanics. It can also be one of the hardest to teach. With that said, I really like rotational mechanics, but I want my students to enjoy it more. I want them not be beContinue reading “Modeling A Physical Pendulum – Another Adventure in Coding Nature”

Building the Electrical Current Model with The Amazing $25 Programmable Power Supply

Not Just For Teaching Robotics Thanks to the generous donations of supporters of the Physics Academy, we were able to purchase a new set of Arduino Uno micro-controllers for use in this year’s robotics competition. As I was planning out the unit on teaching DC circuits, I realized that some of our DC power suppliesContinue reading “Building the Electrical Current Model with The Amazing $25 Programmable Power Supply”

Simulating Planetary Motion (Using Code!)

Simulating Newton’s Law of Universal Law of Gravity Interactive simulations (like those created by the University of Colorado – PhET) can be really nice for impressing students, and giving them a way to explore the dynamics of a simulation. If incorporated into a lesson well, they can add to the active learning process. The questionContinue reading “Simulating Planetary Motion (Using Code!)”

Modeling A Rocket’s Journey – A Synthesis

A Synthesis Of All The Models (Thus Far) In this post I will describe a culminating activity for the first year students in the Academy. This is really the destination that the students have been headed towards since the beginning of the course. Everything they have learned is synthesized in this activity where the studentsContinue reading “Modeling A Rocket’s Journey – A Synthesis”

Building The Net Torque Model – Part 3

Appending The Conservative Models After investigating the causal relationship between torque and angular acceleration, I introduced the possibility to the class that perhaps we also needed to revisit the Energy Transfer Model and the Momentum Transfer Model. The students agreed that an object that is rotating must have energy. This was pretty easy to demonstrate.Continue reading “Building The Net Torque Model – Part 3”