Laboratory 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 physics,
- gain skill and confidence in laboratory techniques
- gain skill in analyzing experimental data, including measurement uncertainties, and
- learn to design a successful physics experiment.

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.

- *A Simple Measurement - Simply measure the width and height of a photo, then calculate its area... How easy is that?
- *Target Practice - A simple activity about accuracy and precision
- Another 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 intervals.
- *Measuring - measuring a well-known mathematical constant, .
- *Using the Law of Reflection to Measure Heights - is a good outdoor lab. Measure the height of the school's flagpole, or something similar.
- Kinematics Graphs - using a motion sensor to produce kinematics graphs of human motions.
- Accelerated Motion on an Incline (Galileo's Experiment)
(Kinematics)
- *The "low-tech" version - well, sort of...at least it doesn't use a computer interface.
- Using 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 DataStudio
^{tm}. - Motion with Constant Acceleration - graphical analysis of the motion of a fan-powered cart. Uses a motion detector and Pasco's DataStudio
^{tm}. - 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 DataStudio
^{tm}. - Velocity
& Stopping Distance- Does a car going twice as fast
*really*take*four*times the distance to stop? Uses Pasco's DataStudio^{tm}.- Velocity
& Stopping Distance - an older version uses Pasco's
Science Workshop
^{tm}

- Velocity
& Stopping Distance - an older version uses Pasco's
Science Workshop
- Measuring "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.
- Measuring "g" in Free Fall - Picket Fence - The "traditional" picket fence experiment.
- *The Inertial Balance
^{*}Addition of Force Vectors - Adding force vectors in three dimensions- Projectile Motion
- Newton's 2nd Law - the Half Atwood Machine
- Newton's 2nd Law - the Atwood Machine
^{*}Stretch and Force for a Spring - How does the stretch of a spring depend on the applied force? (Measurement)- Using
DataStudio
^{TM}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 DataStudio^{TM}software.

- Using
DataStudio
- 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 v
^{2}? - Falling in Air 2 - using the Pasco motion sensor. Is the air resistance force on a falling coffee filter proportional to v or v
^{2}? - 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 v
^{n}, what is n?

- *Falling in Air 1 - a low-tech, easy-math approach. Is the air resistance force on a falling coffee filter proportional to v or v
- Inelastic Collisions
- Elastic Collisions
- Elastic Collisions in 2D
- Work-Energy Theorem on an Airtrack
- Work & PE in a Spring
- Conservation of Energy
- *Uniform Circular Motion
- Moment of Inertia
- *Equilibrium
^{*}Period of SHM - How is the period of motion of a spring related to the attached mass? (Measurement)- Using
DataStudio
^{TM}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 DataStudio^{TM}and process multiple data sets.

- Using
DataStudio
- *Finding "g" using a Simple Pendulum

^{*}These labs do ** not** use a computer
interface.

- Measurement
- Hooke's
Law (uses
*Graphical Analysis*) uses^{TM}*Graphical Analysis*^{TM}Kepler's Third Law and Graphical Analysis - Measuring Common Objects - the "standard" introductory measurement lab
- Measuring Pi - a variation of the "standard" measurement lab
- Measuring Heights using the Law of Reflection - calculating the height of a tall object using similar triangles
- Coefficient of Restitution - How does the rebound height of a bouncing golf ball relate to its height of fall?

- Hooke's
Law (uses
- Kinematics in One Dimension
- The
Motion Sensor Demystified - How does the motion sensor do
that? (uses
*Science Workshop*^{TM})

- The
Motion Sensor Demystified - How does the motion sensor do
that? (uses
- Vectors
- Physics Treasure Hunt - follow the vectors to find the treasure!

Other:

- Writing "Formal" Lab Reports in Physics
- Laboratory Self Assessment
- Laboratory Reports and Records, by Prof. Donald Simanek, Lock Haven University
- Laboratory Reports, from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

last update January 21, 2008 by JL Stanbrough