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Controlled Experiments with Three Factors in SPH4C Grade 12 College Physics

Tim McCarthy, Teacher, St. Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School

Controlled experiments with three factors are a great way for physics students to practice identifying and testing factors that may affect a situation. They provide an excellent opportunity to practice the Scientific Investigation Skills found in Strand A. The students are provided with a situation, brainstorm possible factors that may affect the situation, reduce the list of factors to three that can be tested in the physics lab, develop hypotheses, design procedures to test the factors, test the factors, analyze the data, perform experimental error analysis, and draw conclusions on the effects the three factors have had on the original situation.

My struggle has been to find situations that easily fit this format and that also match the curriculum specific expectations. I have created one three-factor controlled experiment for each of the six units in my 12C physics course. The three-factor experiment in the first unit is used as assessment for learning (formative) to teach the students how to do a controlled experiment. The remaining five experiments are used as assessment of learning (summative). Simulations are used for some experiments as I do not have the necessary equipment to perform all them in the lab. Read More...

Physics Experiment Videos and the Rotating Fish Tank

Eric Haller, Occasional Secondary School Teacher, Peel District School Board

In science, it’s always nice to be able to do a hands-on experiment. While there are many experiments you can do in class, there are some you can’t. Sometimes a particular experiment may require expensive equipment that you don’t have, may take too long to set up, may yield data that is too imprecise to analyze properly, or an experiment may be too dangerous for a classroom setting. At the latest annual OAPT conference Andrew Moffat showed us several websites with video libraries filled with experiments that I wouldn’t be able to recreate myself (skip to the end of this article for those links). To give you a taste of what kinds of videos are available, and how you might build a lesson around one of them for your students, I’d like to analyze one of my favourite videos from the collections. Read More...

Forensic Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

A Practical Experiment For Learning Kinematics and Other STEM Concepts

Dr. Theresa Stotesbury, Research and Product Development, Trent University

I am part of a research group out of Trent University (Peterborough, Ontario) that has developed a teaching kit that provides a 60-minute problem-based experiment that is suitable for high school science students. The activity connects forensic science and kinematics through the analysis of blood spatter. I will be presenting the kit at the OAPT conference at 9:30 on Friday May 12th. Read More...

Bernoulli Lost His Marbles

Al Bartlett, University of Colorado

Fill a one-litre graduated cylinder with water; the cylinder should be about 5 to 8 cm in diameter and 30 to 40 cm tall. Take an ordinary glass marble and try to drop the marble into the water in such a way that the marble will fall all the way to the bottom without first hitting the side of the cylinder. The marble makes an audible click every time it hits the glass wall. Read More...

Bloody Ballistics

George Vanderkuur, Ontario Science Centre

The heart is a mechanical pump that is used to move an incompressible fluid (i.e., blood) through a very elastic closed network of tubes. With each cycle of the “pump,” the whole system expands and contracts. Read More...
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