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Easy and free lab activity! All you need is rubber bands, rulers and tape measure is optional. Great lab for elementary, middle or high school. Teacher guidance heavy in elementary, light for middle school, and facilitation only for high school.
Students will discover the effect of elastic potential energy on kinetic energy by pulling a rubber band back to different lengths and letting it go to see that EPE transfer to Kinetic energy.
Ground rules I use in my classroom are to have all rubber band shooters on one side of the room. Lab group roles are:
1) Rubber band shooter
2) Rubber band pull back length measure using ruler
3) Distance rubber band travels and announce the distance to group
4) Data recorder (everyone copies data table at end of data collection)
- Pull rubber band back on the ruler and let go (see image)
- Count tiles in classroom or hallway for distance as 1 foot if that is applicable
- If possible, obtain tape measures used for sewing and tape to ground and use this for distance (I bought 24 of these for 8$ on amazon). I moved all the desks to side of the room (see images for set up)
Lab Report is FULL with scientific method:
Problem (done), Hypothesis (If, then statement), Variables (blank), Materials (done), Procedure (done), Data Table (set up), Graph (blank), Conclusion and Share of Results with another group (blank)
Great lab! We do the hypothesis, variables, observations and data collection on day 1. Graph set up, plotting line graph points, conclusion and sharing results with a different group can be homework or day 2 in class.
Graph is a line graph.
Students can see the more they pull rubber band back, the more elastic potential energy. The more elastic potential energy they start with, the further the rubber band will travel and more kinetic energy it has. They can see these results demonstrate the law of conservation of energy.