Lab Activities: 4th Edition

Using your Lab Manual or downloaded Guiding Worksheet, select the labs for which you wish to select supplies. Clicking on the lab title will open a new window with the specific items needed for that activity. Each item quantity is based on a single lab group. Multiply quantities to accommodate the number of student lab groups in your class.

Required Materials: This page lists materials needed in many of the Conceptual Physics labs, and should be on hand for a curriculum of Conceptual Physics.

Using the Lab Activities Database

Step 1. Download and print the Guiding Worksheet and organize the labs and topics your classes will cover.

Step 2. After reviewing and making decisions using the Guiding Worksheet, select each lab from the menu to make selections of needed equipment.

Step 3. Each lab selection will open a new window for that lab. After you have completed your choices for the lab, close the window and return to this page for further selections.

Step 4. After completing your equipment selections or at any point during the process you can click the "Shopping Cart" to see or edit equipment selections. You can navigate between the Shopping Cart and the Lab Menu at any time. You can also print a copy of the shopping cart for reference. 

The Basics

These labs cover the scientific method, vector theory, mechanical equilibrium and measurement.

Demos on the Basics
Additional product to help expand on the basics of physics

Chapter 1
1: Amassing a Penny's Worth - Formulate a hypothesis, accumulate data, and then develop a conclusion.

Chapter 2
2: Smart Ropes - Explore mechanical equilibrium.
3: 24-Hour Towing Service - Find a technique for moving a car when its wheels are locked.
4: Sail With the Wind - Investigate the relationship between the components of force that propel a sailboat.
5: Weight of a sign - To resolve a force vector into horizontal and vertical components.


These labs cover topics such as linear motion, inertia, gravity, projectile motion, acceleration and air resistance.

Demos on Motion
Additional products to help expand on force and motion.

Chapter 3
6: Going Nuts - Explore the concept of inertia.
7: Buckle Up! - Investigate how Newton's law of inertia is involved in collisions.

Chapter 4

8: The Physics 500 - Compute the average speed of at least three different races and to participate in at least one race.
9: The Domino Effect - Maximize the speed of falling dominoes.
10: Reaction Time - Measure your reaction time.
11: Merrily We Roll Along! - Investigate the relationship between distance and time for a ball rolling down an incline.
12: Blind As a Bat - Produce and compare graphs of different motions.
13: Bring Home the Bacon - Investigate the motion of an object as it rolls down an incline.
14: What a Drag! - Effects of Air Resistance
15: Impact Speed - Estimate the speed of a falling object as it strikes the ground.

Chapter 5
16: Bull's Eye - Predict the landing point of a projectile
17: Anatomy of a Homer - Understand the principles of projectile motion by analyzing the physics of home runs.

Chapter 6
18: Getting Pushy - Investigate the relationship among mass, force, and acceleration
19: Constant Force and Changing Mass - Investigate the effect of increases in mass on an accelerating system.
20: Constant Mass and Changing Force - Investigate how increasing the applied force affects the acceleration of a system.

Chapter 7
21: Tension - Introduce the concept of tension in a string.
22: Tug-of-War - Investigate the tension in a string, the function of a simple pulley, and a simple "tug-of-war."

Chapter 8
23: Egg Toss - Investigate the effect that stopping time has on a stopping force.
24: Conserving Your Momentum - Investigate the momentum changes when two balls collide.
25: Go Cart - Investigate the momentum imparted during elastic and inelastic collisions.


These labs cover topics such as conservation of energy, work, efficiency and friction

Demos on Energy
Additional products to help expand on force and motion.

Chapter 9
26: Making the Grade - Investigate the force and the distance involved in moving an object up an incline.
27: Muscle Up! - Determine the power that can be produced by various muscles of the human body.
28: Cut Short - Illustrate the principle of conservation of energy with a pendulum.
29: Conserving Your Energy - Measure the potential and kinetic energies of a pendulum in order to see whether energy is conserved.
30: Wrap Your Energy in a Bow - Determine the energy transferred into an archer's bow.
31: How Hot Are Your Wheels? - Measure the efficiency of a toy car on an inclined track.
32: Releasing Your Potential - Find quantitative relationships among height, speed, mass, kinetic energy, and potential energy.
33: Slip-Stick - Investigate three types of friction and measure the coefficient of friction for each type.

Rotation and Orbit

This section covers topics about the physics of rotation, balance, and torque.

Demos on Rotation and Orbit
Additional products to help expand on rotation and orbit.

Chapter 10
34: Going in Circles - Determine the relative magnitude and direction of acceleration of an object at different positions on a rotating platform.
35: The Flying Pig - Show that the net force for a conical pendulum is mv2/r.
36: Torque Feeler - Illustrate the qualitative differences between torque and force.

Chapter 11
37: Where's Your CG? - Locate your center of gravity.
38: Weighing an Elephant - Determine the relationship between masses and distances from the fulcrum for a balance seesaw.
39: Solitary Seesaw - Identify the forces, lever arms, and torques for a system in a rotational equilibrium.
40: Keeping in Balance - Use the principle of balanced torques to find the value of an unknown mass.

Chapter 12
41: Rotational Derby - Observe how round objects of various shapes and masses roll down an incline and how their rotational inertias affect their rate of rotation.
42: On or Off the Mark? - Explore conservation of energy for a rolling body.

Chapter 13
43: Apparent Weightlessness - Observe the effects of gravity on objects in free fall.
44: Getting Eccentric - Investigate the geometry of an ellipse.
45: Tracking Mars - Employ the technique of Johannes Kepler in plotting the orbit of Mars using data acquired by Tycho Brahe four centuries ago.

Chapter 14
46: Trial and Error - Discover Kepler's third law of planetary motion through a procedure of trial and error using a computer.


This section deals in the nature and properties of matter. Including scaling objects, density and flotation

Demos on Matter
Products to help expand on the properties of matter.

Chapter 17
47: Flat as a Pancake - Estimate the diameter of a BB.
48: Extra Small - Estimate the size of a molecule of oleic acid.

Chapter 18
49: Stretch - Verify Hooke's law and determine the spring constants for a spring and a rubber band.
50: Geometric Physics - Investigate ratios of surface area to volume.

Chapter 19
51: Eureka! - Explore the displacement method of finding volumes of irregularly shaped objects and to compare their masses with their volumes.
52: Sink or Swim - Introduce Archimedes' principle and the principle of flotation.
53: Float a Big Stick - Investigate how objects float by analyzing forces acting on a floating stick.


These labs work with subjects including heat, temperature, solar energy.

Demos on Heat
Products to help expand on the properties of matter.

Chapter 21
54: Heat Mixes: Part I - Predict the final temperature of a mixture of cups of water at different temperatures.
55: Heat Mixes: Part II - Predict the final temperature of water and nails when mixed.
56: Temperature of a Flame - Indirectly measure the temperature of a flame.
57: Antifreeze in the Summer? - Investigate what effect antifreeze (ethylene glycol) has on the cooling of a car radiator during the summer.
58: The Bridge Connection - Calculate the minimum length of the expansion joints for the Golden Gate Bridge.

Chapter 22
59: Cooling Off - Compare the rates of cooling of objects of different colors and surface reflectances.
60: Solar Equality - Measure the sun's power output and compare it with the power output of a 100-watt lightbulb.

Chapter 23
61: Boiling is a Cooling Process - Observe water changing phase as it boils and then cools.
62: Melting Away - Measure the heat of fusion for water.
63: Getting Steamed Up - Determine the heat of vaporization for water.
64: LN is Cool Stuff - Determine the specific heat of brass and the heat of vaporization of nitrogen.
65: Work for Your Ice Cream - Measure the energy transfers occurring during the making and freezing of homemade ice cream.
66: The Drinking Bird - Investigate the operation of a toy drinking bird.

Chapter 24
67: The Uncommon Cold - Use linear extrapolation to estimate the Celsius value of absolute zero.

Sound and Waves

This section includes waves, vibrations, and penulum motion.

Demos on Sound and Waves
Products to help expand on the properties of sound and waves.

Chapter 25
68: Tick-Tock - Construct a pendulum with a period of one second.
69: Grandfather's Clock - Investigate how the period of a pendulum varies with its length.
70: Catch a Wave - Observe important wave properties.
71: Ripple While You Work - Observe wave phenomena in a ripple tank.

Chapter 26
72: Mach One - Determine the speed of sound using the concept of resonance.


This section contains labs on light, reflection and refraction, shadows and more.

Demos on Light
Products to help expand on the properties of light.

Chapter 27
73: Shady Business - Investigate the nature and formation of shadows.
74: Shades - Investigate the effects of polarized light.

Chapter 28
75: Flaming Out - Observe the spectra of some metal atoms.
76: Why the Sky is Blue - Investigate the mechanism that causes light to scatter.

Chapter 29
77: Images - Formulate ideas about how reflected light travels to your eyes.
78: Pepper's Ghost - Explore the formation of mirror images by a plate of glass.
79: The Kaleidoscope - Apply the concept of reflection to a mirror system with multiple reflections.
80: Funland - Investigate the nature, position, and size of images formed by a concave mirror.

Chapter 30
81: Camera Obscura - Observe images formed by a pinhole camera and compare images formed with and without a lens.
82: Thin Lens - Explore convex and concave lenses.
83: Lensless Lens - Investigate the operation of a pinhole "lens."
84: Air Lens - Apply knowledge of lenses to a different type of lens system.
85: Bifocals - Investigate the nature, position, and size of images formed by a converging lens.
86: Where's the Point? - Measure the focal length of a diverging lens.

Chapter 31
87: Rainbows Without Rain - Observe and develop a hypothesis about the phenomenon of light interference.
88: What's My Lambda? - Use the basic principles of diffraction and interference to measure the wavelength of laser light.

Electricity and Magnetism

These labs work with electricity, electrostatics, circuits and magnetism.

Demos on Electricity and Magnetism
Additional Products to help expand on the principles of electricity and magnetism.

Chapter 32
89: Static Cling - Observe some of the effects of static electricity.
90: Sticky Electrostatics - Investigate the nature of static electricity.

Chapter 34
91: Sparky, the Electrician - Study various arrangements of a battery and bulbs and the effects of those arrangements on bulb brightness.
92: Brown Out - Investigate charging and discharging a capacitor.
93: Ohm Sweet Ohm - Investigate how current varies with voltage and resistance.

Chapter 35
94: Getting Wired - Build a model that illustrates electric current.
95: Cranking Up - Observe and compare the work done in a series circuit and the work done in a parallel circuit.
96: 3-Way Switch - Explore ways to turn a lightbulb on or off from either one of two switches.

Chapter 36
97: 3D Magnetic Field - Explore the shape of magnetic fields.
98: You're Repulsive - Observe the force on an electric charge moving in a magnetic field, and the current induced in a conductor moving in a magnetic field.

Chapter 37
99: Motors and Generators - Observe the effects of electromagnetic induction.

The Atom

This section works with the properties of the atom, radioactivity and nuclear energy.

Chapter 38
100: Particular Waves - Observe the photoelectric effect.
101: Energy of a Photon - Determine the energy of a photon emitted by an LED and estimate the value of Planck's constant.

Chapter 39
102: Nuclear Marbles - Determine the diameter of a marble by indirect measurement.
103: Half-Life - Develop an understanding of half-life and radioactive decay.

Chapter 40
104: Chain Reaction - Chain Reaction