Using Microsoft Excel to Explore Gravity Forces and Accelerations part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
In this activity, students will learn about the force of gravity and the factors that affect it (mass of objects and distance between them). They will learn the universal gravitation equation and analyze it qualitatively. They will then learn how to use Microsoft Excel and use the program to create a "gravity calculator" which will automatically calculate force of gravity and acceleration of two different objects if the user inputs the masses of the objects and the distance between them. They will use this gravity calculator to analyze several actual and hypothetical gravitational interactions (on earth and in space) to get a feeling for gravity forces and accelerations.
Newton's Second Law: Constant Force Applied to a Skateboarder part of MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection:MnSTEP Activity Mini-collection
In this physics lab, students investigate the motion of different skateboarders pulled with various values of constant force. Using skateboarders of different masses and a variety of constant force values, students produce distance vs. time motion graphs for a number of skateboarding trials. Students may develop their own methods for setting up the lab and recording the necessary data. Following data collection, students analyze the data using Newton's second law and discuss differences between trials, the effects of friction, and possible sources of error in the experiment.