AP Physics at BHS
work should be a primary component of the AP Physics
"experience". In physics lab, students should:
- gain "hands on" understanding of the theoretical concepts of
- gain skill and confidence in laboratory techniques
- gain skill in analyzing experimental data, including
measurement uncertainties, and
- learn to design a successful physics experiment.
Experiments & Activities:
Below is a list of the "main-sequence" laboratory experiments. Not
all of these labs can be performed in a single year, but it is a goal
of the course to spend 20-25% of the available class time in lab.
Simple Measurement - Simply measure the width and height of a
photo, then calculate its area... How easy is that?
Practice - A simple activity about accuracy and precision
Simple Measurement - Try some more-sophisticated analysis as a
class, and explore random and systematic uncertainties. Another Simple Measurement - Version 2 uses the Pasco 4-sided meter stick instead of a paper ruler.
- *Measuring Common Objects - An introduction to measurement in
physics. There is a version using only
significant digits and a version using uncertainty
- measuring a well-known mathematical constant, .
the Law of Reflection to Measure Heights - is a good outdoor
lab. Measure the height of the school's flagpole, or something
Graphs - using a motion sensor to produce kinematics graphs of
- Accelerated Motion on an Incline (Galileo's Experiment)
"low-tech" version - well, sort of...at least it doesn't
use a computer interface.
Pasco DataStudio & interface
- Motion with Constant Velocity - graphical analysis of the motion of a cart moving with constant velocity. Uses a motion detector and Pasco's DataStudiotm.
- Motion with Constant Acceleration - graphical analysis of the motion of a fan-powered cart. Uses a motion detector and Pasco's DataStudiotm.
- Constant Acceleration? - use a graph of position versus time squared to determine whether various motions exhibit constant acceleration. Uses a motion detector and Pasco's DataStudiotm.
& Stopping Distance- Does a car going twice as fast
really take four times the distance to stop? Uses
& Stopping Distance - an older version uses Pasco's
"g" in Free Fall - Pasco Free Fall Apparatus - A direct
measurement of "g", by measuring the time it takes an object to
fall a known distance from rest.
"g" in Free Fall - Picket Fence - The "traditional" picket
- *The Inertial Balance
of Force Vectors - Adding force vectors in three
- Projectile Motion
- Newton's 2nd Law - the Half Atwood Machine
2nd Law - the Atwood Machine
and Force for a Spring - How does the stretch of a spring
depend on the applied force? (Measurement)
DataStudioTM to Graph Experimental Data - Part 1
- Once the computer network is "up and running", we will
reanalyze the data from the "Stretch and Force" lab as an
introduction to the DataStudioTM
- Air Resistance - What is the relationship between air resistance force and an object's velocity?
- *Falling in Air 1 - a low-tech, easy-math approach. Is the air resistance force on a falling coffee filter proportional to v or v2?
- Falling in Air 2 - using the Pasco motion sensor. Is the air resistance force on a falling coffee filter proportional to v or v2?
- Falling in Air 3 - using the Pasco motion sensor and more-interesting mathematics. If the air resistance force on a falling coffee filter is proportional to vn, what is n?
- Elastic Collisions in 2D
- Work-Energy Theorem on an Airtrack
- Work & PE in
- Conservation of
- *Uniform Circular Motion
- Moment of Inertia
of SHM - How is the period of motion of a spring related to
the attached mass? (Measurement)
DataStudioTM to Graph Experimental Data - Part 2
- In this laboratory exercise, you will reanalyze the data from
the "Period of SHM" lab. This time, however, you will set up
your own experiment file on DataStudioTM and process
multiple data sets.
- *Finding "g" using a Simple Pendulum
*These labs do not use a computer
- Kinematics in One Dimension
last update January 21, 2008 by JL