How to Teach with Direct Measurement Videos
For an introduction to the techniques used when analyzing Direct Measurement Video questions, see the example activity Introduction to Using Direct Measurement Video: Determine the speed of a Roller Coaster
Direct Measurement Videos are intended to be used when teaching introductory physics mechanics at the high school or college level. There are several ways these videos can be used.
1. As a replacement for word problemsInstructors can present a video to students and ask them to solve a particular problem. For example, an instructor can give students the video shown at right, which shows a metal cylinder sliding to rest on a lab table and ask them to determine the increase in thermal energy of the table an metal cylinder. For this video, students measure the distance from the zero cm mark to the stopping point, the time interval. They use the fact that the object comes to rest (vf = 0). Assuming that the acceleration is constant, they can use these values to find the acceleration and initial velocity. Finally, they'd calculate the kinetic energy of the cylinder at the zero cm mark. Since they cylinder stops, all the kinetic energy is converted to thermal energy. This type of lesson can be structured as a group activity during class, or as homework. The instructor can provide scaffolding, for example, by having a discussion about the physics concepts they'll need to solve the problem, or to remind them about how to use the frame-counter to measure time intervals. An example of a lesson of this type is Using Direct Measurement Video to find the acceleration of a rocket-powered cart
2. As a way to verify a physics conceptInstructors can present a video and ask students to show how the data in the video can be used to demonstrate a physics concept. For example, the video at right shows a blow-dart colliding with a foam block attached to a low-friction cart. Students can measure the linear momentum of the blow-dart before the collision, and compare it with the momentum of the dart and cart after the collision. Students can be asked to determine whether and why linear momentum is conserved in this situation. An example of an activity using this approach is Direct Measurement Video Analysis - Blow-Dart Collides With Cart
Students can also practice making measurements that include uncertainty. In this case, they can also use rules for uncertainty propagation when doing calculations. This is especially useful when comparing quantities to check for conservation. In the example of the blow-dart and cart, momentum is conserved, within the margin of certainty.