5. Physics from the Web
1. Prac Investigations at home - More Resources
The newsletter of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) has been a regular source of support materials during this difficult time. The latest is an online experiment that has much potential for Practical Investigations
Mech-Net Recorded Data Labs
MechNet has introduced a different way for doing physics experiments with sophisticated research quality engineering equipment. The LabVIEW recorded data program allows students to conduct experiments in the exact same way as if the equipment where actually in their classroom. This is not a virtual reality program of what the data should be. This is real data recorded from an actual test with the equipment.
MechNet is offering these programs for FREE to assist teachers with online remote labs and in class labs as well.
It is an aerofoil investigation with two continuous independent variables of air speed and angle, as well as discrete variables for profile (three types) and for flap/ice (four angles of flap and 2 ice conditions). The dependent variable is the lift, although data for the upper and lower surface velocity and pressure at several points are also available. Recorded data can be downloaded to the clipboard for analysis in Excel. The air speed and angle have slide controls, so repeated trials can be done, generating some uncertainty for students to consider.
The range of discrete variables means that several students could use the program for quite different investigations. A student with insecure physics may find this program challenging, but a student comfortable with their physics will be excited by the opportunities provided.
There is a short youtube video showing all the features of the program. Teachers need to register and once approved, book time for students. The website says there is an hourly fee, but unspecified and it seems to be currently waived.
The website says there is also a program for an electric vehicle, but it does not seem to be available. A program for a roller coaster is being planned, which will be worth following up.
Previous newsletters have mentioned that Vicphysics has set up a Google Drive for videos of experiments and data sets. Teachers may request access to the drive and download the files for their students by emailing Vicphysics.
Investigations on Video: Topics are:
- How the strength of the magnetic field between two bar magnets varies with separation as measured with a top loading balance.
- How the strength of the magnetic field between two disc magnets varies with separation as measured with a top loading balance.
- How the magnitude of the electrostatic attraction between a charged rod and a metal sheet varies with separation as measured with a top loading balance.
- How the energy loss and the force of impact of the bounce of a soccer ball varies with drop height.
- How the energy loss, force of impact and compression of a spring vary when a set of metal washers fall down a rod onto the spring from various heights.
- How the energy loss, force of impact and compression of a spring vary when a sets of metal washers of different mass, fall down a rod onto the spring from a fixed drop height.
- How the time for a Saxon Bowl to submerge depends on the diameter of the hole in the bottom
Data Sets: The Vicphysics Google Drive also has a folder for data sets. There are two data sets at this stage.
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2. Waves: An Interactive Tutorial
This open source, online book hosted by AAPT uses a series of tutorials based on interactive simulations and animations to explore the physics of waves. Students develop their understanding of waves through guided questions and exercises based on these simulations.
There are four sections: Basic Properties, Combining Waves, External Interactions and Applications. These cover most of the content in Unit 4 Area of Study 1 as well as covering more advanced aspects such as antennas, etc.
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3. Perimeter Institute: Tools for Teaching Science
The Perimeter Institute has set up a reference resource for teachers of tools and strategies to improve student learning. The full resource can be downloaded from here. It covers general science, as well as Physics, Chemistry and Biology, although most of the topics are physics based.
Their resource on black holes has been updated. It explores energy, gravitation, gravitational lensing, orbits, Kepler’s laws, and scientific models – all within the context of the latest discoveries.
Their video library is now on Youtube, but if you wish to access the teacher guide, modifiable worksheets, your own copy of the video, and other supporting materials, then these are available from the link above.
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The Vicphysics Teachers' Network set up a Job Ads page on our website to assist schools in finding a physics teacher, either to be a LSL replacement or to fill an ongoing position or just to cover an extended sick leave.
There are twelve Government schools seeking a physics teacher:
This webpage is updated every weekend. The webpage also has a link on how schools can register a position and also lodge a payment for this service.
- Bayside P-12 College, Bendigo Senior Secondary College, Box Hill High School, Fairhills High School, Gladstone Park Secondary College, Greater Shepparton Secondary College, Horsham College, Richmond High School, Sunbury College, Wedderburn College, Williamstown High School, and Woodmans Hill Secondary College (2)
Items selected from the bulletin of the Institute of Physics (UK).
Each item below includes the introductory paragraphs and a web link to the rest of the article.
a) Protons could be lighter than we thought
The most precise measurement to date of the proton-electron mass ratio suggests that the proton may be lighter than previously thought. The result, from researchers in the Netherlands and France, provides a crucial independent cross-check with previous measurements of the ratio, which yielded inconsistent values.
The proton-electron mass ratio is an important quantity in physics and a benchmark for molecular theory. It can be determined by measuring the rotations and vibrations of ordinary molecular hydrogen ions (H2+) and comparing them to similar ro-vibrational measurements in their deuterated cousins (HD+). Both entities are the very simplest bound systems that can be termed “molecules”, and as such they are ideal for probing models of fundamental physics. Indeed, when researchers first performed measurements of ro-vibrational transitions in HD+ 40 years ago, they suggested that the results could be used to test the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) in molecules.
b) How to hack a self-driving car
Cars that drive themselves may one day improve road safety by reducing human error – and hopefully deaths by accidents too. However, the hardware and software behind the technology opens up a range of opportunities to hackers.
c) Charging ahead - Electric cars
With electric cars set to enter the mainstream over the next few years, this article looks at the new charging solutions that will be needed to power what are effectively large batteries on wheels.