Nothing gets a physics student’s attention like a lab involving a toy. These inexpensive, and easy to obtain suction cup and a spring toys are a fun way to look at conservation of energy, Hooke’s Law, and spring constants
Students calculate potential energy due to gravity and then determine the spring constant using the law of conservation of energy in this on-level physics lab. Students then compare data or compare their value to a teacher measured value. If your students are more advanced, disassemble a toy and measures the spring constant using Hooke’s law, as a group.
This lab takes 50 minutes if the teacher pre-measures the spring constant or 90 minutes if the teacher determines the spring constant using Hooke’s law with the class. It is designed to be done over two class periods if you teach in a shorter block. There are 3 versions, with keys, depending o how you choose to do this activity. You will need to order the toys in advance. I have provided a link.
• Hands on experience
• Cooperative Learning
• Conservation Law
• Use of toys in physics
• Data Collection and Graphing; precision
• Teacher instructions and set up
• Student handouts
• Keys and Sample Data
Keywords: COE, conservation of energy, momentum, kinetic, potential, elastic, gravity, spring, Hooke's law, spring constant, N/m, newtons, elongation, compression, equations, set equal, lab, laboratory, experiment, activity, cooperative learning, data, graphing, linear, slope, measure, metric