While most students can define acceleration, what does it really mean to them? How can they demonstrate it?
Students should be given the question- How do you know a car is accelerating down a hill? They will not be allowed to use an speedometer or acceleratometer in this laboratory. Rather make simple classroom materials available to them for them to demonstrate that indeed the car is accelerating down the hill (ramp).
Materials needed:Ruler, Masking Tape, Pen or Marker, Books, Table (To make a ramp), Stopwatch (Since many students often carry a phone with them, a stopwatch app is an easy way to measure time in this experiment.), Toy Car (If you do not have these, ask your students to bring in some from home.)
This laboratory was designed to assess student’s understanding of acceleration. It will prepare both middle and high school students to complete the following NGSS performance expectations:
“Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.”
“Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.”
This laboratory also meets the requirements for the students to use the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
“Planning and Carrying Out Investigations”
“Analyzing and Interpreting Data”
“Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking”
“Constructing Explanations (for science)"