The Wave activity page
- Carefully observe the video
- Measure the displacement of the coaster car at certain times
- Calculate the initial and final velocity of the car
- Calculate the average acceleration of the car
- Consider the direction of the water's force on the car
Context for Use
I use this activity with my students at the beginning of the unit on forces as a way to re-emphasize 1D kinematics but at the same time to get them thinking about forces, friction, and Newton's Laws. Although it's quite highly scaffolded (giving the students quite detailed instructions) the instructor may need to offer additional information about forces and friction if the students haven't seen them before.The activity takes about 20 minutes.
Description and Teaching Materials
Here is a worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.2MB Aug30 14) to guide students through this activity:
worksheet solutions (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 1.2MB Aug30 14)
These instructions are highly scaffolded, giving students step-by-step instructions. An instructor may chose to provide less detailed instructions to encourage independent thinking and problem solving.
Teaching Notes and Tips
There are several "Forces and Motion" DMV's (Direct Measurement Videos) in our library that depict situations where the physics is almost identical, but the context and the specifics are very different: