Arbor Scientific introduces a growing collection of science labs, activities and experiments for physics and physical science teachers. Science labs are designed to cover important key concepts, and may be downloaded and used in your classroom. Whether you’re a teacher or home schooling parent, these labs are designed for you.

Science labs include teacher’s notes with a brief concept review, tips, applicable National Science Content Standards, and a list of equipment. The student pages are ready to reproduce and use right away.

Measuring Forces on an Inclined Plane

The Forces on an Inclined Plane Demonstrator is a new piece of physics equipment that can help make the abstract concepts of vector components of forces a tangible reality.  The innovation of the device is that it can be manipulated at will.  The angles can be set and reset quickly and the forces measured fairly quickly.

 

The device breaks the weight of an object into its component forces and allows for accurate data to be taken without having to set up clumsy and cumbersome ramps.

Each module comes with a built in scale (that measures how the Normal Force varies with the angle of inclination) and a parallel spring scale (that measures how the Parallel Force increases with the angle of inclination).

The module contains three unique features.  Built in scale, protractor, and spring scale  mount.

The measurements rely heavily on Balanced Forces.  Balanced Forces result in zero acceleration.  The action of gravity pulling the cart downhill is balanced by the equal and opposite action of the spring scale pulling the cart uphill.  Similarly, the component of the weight that is wasted in the hill is balanced by a reaction force which is perpendicular to the hill.  This is called the Normal Force (normal meaning perpendicular).

The sine and cosine relationships will come naturally out of well-calibrated data.

 

Lab Ideas

 

Create Graphs of Sine & Cosine:  The two forces measured by the device will trace out the sine and cosine curves (with an amplitude mg) as the device is rotated through angle.

 

Verify Specific Predictions:  Test out the special triangles: 45 45 90, 30 60 90, 3 4 5, to reinforce the behavior of the forces as the vary with tilt angle.  For example, 5N tilted to an angle of 37 degrees will have a normal force of 4N and a downhill force of 3N.  But what will happen for 53 degrees?

 

In an open-ended lab the students invent their own procedures and hypothesize the relationships without formal instruction.

 

Open-Ended Lab:  Have students try to invent the formulas for themselves.  Taking data from the digital balance and from the spring scale to determine the relationships from scratch.  This style of lab is consistent with the NGSS Standards and the AP Physics 1 curriculum.

 

 

 

Tips for Success

 

While taking measurements the user will have to “tare” the scale every time.  This is because the plate that sits on the scale is itself an object with weight.  Once the angle is selected, simply lift the cart and tare then reweigh.

 

It is also important to recalibrate the spring scale when making a measurement of the component downhill.

How it looks to correctly set 45 degrees.

 

Be careful not to confuse the screw that holds the up the incline plane with the angle indicator.  The angle is measured best by the lower edge of the plane being in line with the angle in question.

Forces On Inclined Plane Demonstrator

In Stock SKU: P4-1420
$69.00

 

 

James Lincoln

James Lincoln is an experienced physics teacher with graduate degrees in education and applied physics. He has become known nationally as a physics education expert specializing in original demonstrations, the history of physics, and innovative hands-on instruction.

The American Association of Physics Teachers and the Brown Foundation have funded his prior physics film series and SCAAPT’s New Physics Teacher Workshops.

Lincoln currently serves as the Chair of AAPT’s Committee on Apparatus and has served as President of the Southern California Chapter of the AAPT, as a member of the California State Advisory for the Next Generation Science Standards, and as an AP Physics Exam Reader.  He has also produced Videos Series for UCLA’s Physics Demos Project, Arbor Scientific, eHow.com, About.com, and edX.org.


Read more...

Momentum – Tailgated by a Dart

In this lab, students will learn to estimate the speed of an object by applying conservation of momentum to an inelastic collision. Energy is not lost its transferred from one object to another. Students will fire a dart into the back of the free rolling car and measure the distance of the car, calculate the speed of the dart and car, and measure the mass of the car and dart.


Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets.

Required Equipment

Tailgated by a Dart Kit, stopwatch, meterstick, balance

Tailgated by a Dart Kit

In Stock SKU: PX-9501
$8.50

Meter Stick 6 pack

In Stock SKU: P1-7072
$18.00

Economy Digital Balance

In Stock SKU: 02-7000
$115.00
Read more...

Density Rods

The Density Rod Set consists of two rods. The aluminum rod sinks in warm water and floats in cool. This is because cool water is more dense than warm, and the aluminum rod is made to be between those two densities. The PVC rod does the reverse – floats in warm water and sinks in cool. This time, the rod changes more than the water, becoming more dense when it is cool.

Required Equipment
Balance, Film Canisters, Pennies, Tape

Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets

Density Rod Set

In Stock SKU: P1-1020
$20.00

100 ml Polypropylene Cylinder

In Stock SKU: 06-3043
$4.00

Student Thermometer

In Stock SKU: 68-6202
$3.75

The “food coloring and rubbing alcohol” required for this lab is readily available at grocery store. Each lab group would need one container of each.

Read more...

Quantum Lab (Inquiry)

Indirect Measurement Lab

Something that is quantized exists in multiples of a set quantity. Examples are charge [1.6 x 10-19C] or quantum energies of photons. Planck and Einstein predicted that light existed as discrete bundles called photons. Since they could not see a unit of photon energy, this lab constructs a model of how quanta was derived and visualized by scientists. In this INQUIRY lab, students will develop their own method for finding the pennies’ mass.

Required Equipment
Balance, Film Canisters, Pennies, Tape

Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets

Sartorius M-Prove Model AY511 510g X 0.1g

In Stock SKU: 02-7069
$179.00

The Film Canister required for this lab is readily available here

The “Tape” required for this lab is readily available at your office or school supply store. Each lab group would need one roll or access to a roll.

Read more...

Quantum Lab

Quantum Measurement Lab

Something that is quantized exists in multiples of a set quantity. Examples are charge [1.6 x 10-19C] or quantum energies of photons. Planck and Einstein predicted that light existed as discrete bundles called photons. Since they could not see a unit of photon energy, this lab constructs a model of how quanta was derived and visualized by scientists.

Required Equipment
Balance, Film Canisters, Pennies, Tape

Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets

The “Tape” required for this lab is readily available at your office or school supply store. Each lab group would need one roll or access to a roll.

Sartorius M-Prove Model AY511 510g X 0.1g

In Stock SKU: 02-7069
$179.00
Read more...

Picture of a Lab: Different Graph Types

Picture of a Lab – Different Graph Types

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.
Indicates the level of technology required for the lab activity.
Indicates the level of technology required for the lab activity.
Good for grade levels 5 through 9
Good for grade levels 9 through 12

Click here for applicable science standards

Required Equipment
Hooked Masses, Meter Stick, Motion Sensor, D-Cell Holder, D-Cell Battery, 2 Alligator Wires, Mini Bulb Holder, Mini Bulb, light sensor, Data-logger, Spring Set/3, Computer with Excel or other graphing application, Several identical weights or books, 7 wood blocks

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.

Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets

Hooked Mass Set

In Stock SKU: P1-1000
$85.00

Go! Motion Sensor

In Stock SKU: P4-2400
$119.00

D-Cell Battery Holder

In Stock SKU: P6-1400
$2.25

C Battery

In Stock SKU: 44-1091
$1.50

Alligator Leads (Pack of 10)

In Stock SKU: P4-3000
$4.50

Miniature Bulb Base

In Stock SKU: P6-1401
$1.50

3.2V Miniature Bulbs 10 Pack

In Stock SKU: P6-1407
$5.50

Spring Set, 3 Different Sizes

In Stock SKU: PX-2120
$5.95

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.

 

Read more...

Density of a Solid

Regular and irregular objects will be used. Students will devise a way of finding the volume of each object – calculating the volume of a cube or using water displacement for irregular objects. They will calculate the density of each and compare to standard values.

Required Equipment

Density Blocks, Balance, Graduated Cylinder, Various objects.

Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets

Assorted Density Block Set

In Stock SKU: P1-1010
$23.00

Sartorius M-Prove Model AY511 510g X 0.1g

In Stock SKU: 02-7069
$179.00

The “Various objects” required for this lab are any small irregular solid objects that you would like to calculate the density for as a part of this experiment.

Read more...

Acceleration Force and Mass

Stephen ReaStudents love fast moving experiments, but higher speeds often require higher technology. That can challenge the budget and students’ ability to use the technology. These simple, but highly accurate photogates remove both barriers. No costly computers are needed, and set up is easy. Students literally ‘get up to speed’ fast!

Stephen Rea has been teaching physics and honors physics at both the high school and college level since 1980. Currently at the University of Michigan, Dearborn, he was the Michigan State Science Teacher of the year in 1994.

Using the Timer & Photogates in the Classroom!

Arbor Scientific’s photogates are highly effective for use in multiple experiments, including measuring acceleration and exploring projectile motion and Conservation of Momentum. Here are two examples:

Car and RampAcceleration: The Timer & Photogate system is perfect for measuring the acceleration of an object. This typically requires students to measure the time for the object to pass through each of the two photogates, plus the time to travel between them. The way that these values are displayed on the timer makes it easy for students to capture the data.

Conservation of Momentum: Experiments with Conservation of Momentum typically involve determining the speeds of two colliding objects, both before and after the collision. Using the timer memory feature, students can use the photogate system to obtain all four time values with precise accuracy. As an example of how they can be used, the teacher challenges students to use the photo-timer system with gliders on an air track and come up with an experiment that confirms Conservation of Momentum.

Required Equipment
Timer & Photogates 2.0, and the Car& Ramp


Recommended quantity per lab group: 1

Timer & PhotogatesTimer & Photogates 2.0
P4-1450

Digital Timer & photogates. No computer required for this simple, intuitive data collection device. Complete set includes Timer, two photogates with cords, AC adaptor, user’s manual, and hard carrying case.

Click here to get it >>


Recommended quantity per lab group: 1

Car & RampCar & Ramp 2.0 Lab
P4-1405

Experiment with distance, time, velocity and acceleration, Newton’s laws and simple machines. The 120cm ramp attaches to the Workshop Stand at angles up to 65°.

Click here to get it >>

Read more...

Tornado in a Bottle Inquiry

Simple instruments to explore sound and frequency.
Tornado in a Bottle Inquiry
We will use funnels, soda bottles, and a toy called a Tornado Tube to explore the concepts of moment of inertia, rotational motion, angular momentum, kinetic and potential energy, and air pressure in an attempt to discover and explain the physics of a rather complex hydrodynamic system.

Required Equipment
Plastic Funnel, Stopwatch, Vortex Tube, Materials for Designing a Funnel, 2 Empty Soda Bottles, Water Source, Large Tub or Sink.

Acknowledgements: Thank you to Dr. J.R. Harkay author ofPhenomenal Physics for providing this student inquiry activity.Adapted from “Twister! Tornado in a Bottle,” an Inquiry Exercise by J. R. Harkay. See www.PhenomenalPhysics.com for more information on the complete Guided Inquiry Curriculum.


Dr. Russell Harkay
Keene State College
New Hampshire

Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets

Horizontal Projectile Ramp with Ball

In Stock SKU: P2-8490
$14.00
Read more...

Tuning Fork Interference

Tuning Fork Interference
Two waves, when traveling through the same medium, will superimpose upon one another, causing interference. In the case of sound, the two sounds will combine to form a single sound. This lab asks students to combine the sounds from two tuning forks (which each produces a simple sine wave vibration) and observe the results. Audioscope software provides a unique opportunity to see the waveforms and frequencies that make up a complex sound.

Required Equipment
Tuning Forks Set, Audioscope Software, Computer with Microphone
Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets

Complete Set of Tuning Forks

In Stock SKU: P7-5000
$79.00
Read more...