Cool Labs

Levers and Balance
Levers and Balance

In the first lab, students will investigate the arrangements of weights that result in equilibrium (balance) in the lever system. They will find that both the force and the distance from the fulcrum are important in evaluating the system. This...

Balloon Helicopter
Balloon Helicopter

The balloon helicopter is a classic toy with a simple design. The physics that explains its motion, though, can be difficult to explain. Students will observe the motion of the helicopter and study its construction before applying Newton's 3rd Law...

Forces in Equilibrium
Forces in Equilibrium

Students will place three different forces on a washer, and then arrange the forces so that the washer is in stable equilibrium in the center of the table. The forces must be visualized as vectors to understand how they can...

Life-Size Collisions
Life-Size Collisions

Students will observe "explosions," in which one student on a dynamics cart pushes another. From this, they will confirm the relationship between mass and velocity in determining momentum. They will also reinforce the idea of a closed system by experimenting...

Circular Motion and the Flying Pig
Circular Motion and the Flying Pig

The Flying Pig provides students with a fun way to study circular motion. The pig and its string trace a conical pendulum and allow a perfect opportunity for calculations and measurements of circular motion. Students should be familiar with forces,...

Equilibrium and Torque
Equilibrium and Torque

This lab has two activities. In the first, students investigate the arrangement of masses on a center-pivot lever required to produce balance. They will develop the idea that both force and lever arm produce torque, and that both quantities must...

Collisions on an Air Track
Collisions on an Air Track

In this lab using an Air Track, students will investigate elastic and inelastic collisions on an air track. Evaluate conservation of momentum and energy. Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets Required Equipment

The Bouncing Dart
The Bouncing Dart

The Bouncing Dart is a specially designed pendulum with one elastic end and one inelastic end. Students will collide each end with a massive (1kg or more) cart, observing the pendulum's motion and measuring the distance the cart moves. They...

Gravity and Motion
Gravity and Motion

When a car is on a ramp, a portion of its weight works to roll it down the ramp. Another portion works to hold it down to the ramp. These two portions, or component forces, are perpendicular to one another...