Year 12s Design Experiments in IB Physics


Year 12 are designing experiments to answer practical challenges about momentum.

Year 12 IB Physics students are enjoying being back in school and doing experimental work again!  Students were challenged to design experiments to answer the following Practical Challenges:

  1. Collide two gliders with springy bumpers together on an airtrack. By using light gates to measure their velocities and a balance to measure their masses, find out how “elastic” the springy bumpers are. Where did the wasted energy go?  Extension: repeat with velcro bumpers.  Super Extension: repeat with magnetic bumpers.
  2. Collide the spring loaded plunger in trolley with a wall. By using a GoMotion sensor to measure the velocity before and after the collision and a balance to measure the mass, find out how “elastic” the spring loaded plunger is. Where did the wasted energy go?
  3. Fire the steel ball bearing into the ballistics pendulum. Measure the change in height of the ballistics pendulum and its mass and hence the increase in GPE. Hence calculate the velocity of the pendulum directly after impact. Use the principle of conservation of momentum to calculate the velocity of the steel ball bearing.  Extension: can you work out if the collision is elastic or not?

It was so great to get all of the ‘toys’ out of the Physics Prep Room and see the Year 12 students using the air tracks, light gates and dataloggers to enhance their understanding of the Momentum topic!