Modeling Oscillating Systems: Physics Component


This module is envisioned as a typical process of scientific exploration. The teacher will initiate the process with an engagement demonstration or activity, provide available experimental measuring equipment, and assist the students with the design of explorations that will focus on the oscillations of various simple systems.Having obtained experimental data, the students will model the process using the Stella modeling software. Thus the students must have available a variety of oscillating objects/systems such as horizontally and vertically mounted springs, pendulums, tuning forks, and any other objects whose oscillatory motion lends itself to being measured precisely.

Appropriate equipment such as CBLs, or LabPros with a variety of probes to measure force, motion, acceleration, and sound, are required for the studentsí experimental work. Computers and software such as Stella and Excel will be required for the studentsí modeling and analysis of their experimental work.

The students are expected to have basic familiarity and skills with real-time data collection devices.They must be able to measure the motion of objects and the forces associated with that motion. Typically this would involve use of photogates, motion detectors, force probes, and accelerometers.

Generally the students should be familiar with the construction or operation of simple Stella models associated with kinematics and dynamics. Specifically they must be able to relate a physical event with its graphical representation, and provide a physical interpretation of the slope of the line in terms of y = mx + b.

As part of the math/science collaboration process the students will export data from their Stella models that will be sent to a participating math team accompanying a lab report of the data collection procedures. The math team will cut and paste this data into an Excel spreadsheet, analyze the data and report back to the physics class.