Education Technology

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  • Subject Area

    • Science: Physics: Work, Energy and Momentum

  • Author

    Kevin Patterson

  • Level

    9-12

  • Activity Time

    120 Minutes

  • Device
    • TI-Nspire™
    • TI-Nspire™ CAS
  • Software

    TI-Nspire™
    TI-Nspire™ CAS

  • Accessories

    CBR™/CBR 2™

  • Other Materials
      1. dynamics cart
      2. track for cart with a pulley attached
      3. a known mass
      4. string
      5. meter stick
      6. balance
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Work-Energy Theorem Applied to a Cart Pulled Down a Track

Published on 06/05/2009

Activity Overview

In this activity, students will analyze the relationship between the maximum speed of a cart pulled by a falling mass and the work done by gravity. Students will measure the speed of the cart, calculate the work in each trial, make a graph of speed vs. work, and determine an equation which will fit the data. This equation will be compared to the Work-Energy theorem.

Before the Activity

Students should be introduced to the concepts of work and kinetic energy prior to this activity.

During the Activity

Students will create their own .tns files as part of this activity. The document provides step-by-step instructions for data collection and data analysis. Embedded within the instructions are questions intended to guide students through the analysis. These questions should help students as they complete a lab report. The document includes four sample screen shots to help visualize how the data is presented and analyzed.

After the Activity

Students may find a class discussion of the results and a comparison of data from different groups very beneficial. The data, graphs, and the students' responses to questions may form the core of a lab report for assessment purposes.