Station #1 investigates the relationship between force and displacement of a stretched spring. Students will discover a direct linear relationship, with an equation of the form y = mx + b. Station #2 demonstrates Boyle's Law, or the relationship between the pressure on a gas and its volume. The graph is a hyperbola, y = 1/x. Station #3 relates light intensity to distance from the source. The graph shows an inverse-square relationship, with an equation y = 1/x2. Station #4 uses staggered, stacked blocks to result in a simple parabolic graph, where y = x2.
The "Computer with Excel or other graphing application" required for this lab is any computer that you may have that has software capable of plotting graphs. In order to use the data logger in this experiment, the computer would need to be of PC version (Windows).
The "Several identical weights or books" required for this lab are any objects that you may have or that can also be purchased from your local convenience or hardware store that are identical in weight.
The "wood blocks" required for this lab can be cut from any lumber that you may have or purchased from your local building supply store. The blocks should all be identical in measurements.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to Dwight "Buzz" Putnam for his assistance in developing this lab. Buzz is a 25 year veteran physics teacher at Whitesboro High School, New York Science Teacher of the Year and Host of the Regents Physics Answers television show on PBS. You can also find him refereeing high school basketball games as well as presenting at the NSTA National Conferences.