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14 April 2010

Physics Projects?

Greetings... been distracted the past week by some physics fights.  Oak Ridge (TN) High School and the Madeira School came to Woodberry on Saturday to discuss and debate the merits of the research projects we've all been working on this year.  Next year we will all get together at Oak Ridge Associated Universities in the first weekend of February. 

The four projects that will be discussed and debated next February are:

Dominos: "Numerous domino tiles are balanced on a table or floor with their long axis vertical with horizontal spaces that can be varied. When the first tile is knocked over a domino wave occurs. Predict and measure the speed of this wave and its dependence on various parameters."

Salt Water Oscillator: "Pour fresh water into tall container. Place a cup with a hole in its bottom surface on top of the fresh water. Prepare a solution of salt water and add some food coloring. Pour this solution into the cup on top of the fresh water and simultaneously push the cup down into the fresh water. Secure the cup so that the level of salt water is approximately the same as the level of fresh water. Observe the on-again and off-again flow of salt water into the fresh water. Predict the frequency of these oscillations from first principles, and compare to experiment. Investigate sizes of holes, salt concentrations, and other liquids."

Magic Motor: "Construct a DC motor without a commutator, using a single battery, a single permanent magnet, and a single loop of wire. Predict the frequency of rotation of this motor from first principles and compare to experiment."

Boiling Water: "Some people say it is important to put a lid on the pot when you want to boil water for tea to save energy and time. Investigate this phenomenon."


Need something to do after the AP exam?  Do you have a few students who are way ahead of the rest of the class and seem bored?  Give them these projects.  Next year, bring 2-4 of them to Tennessee, and let them show off what they've learned.  Want to add a research component to your class or to your science club?  Use these problems.  Do you have a second-year class who's done too many traditional laboratory exercises?  Replace standard lab work with these problems.

If you'd like more information about these problems or the tournament at Oak Ridge, please give a call -- 540-672-3900, or an email to greg_jacobs@woodberry.org

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