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Investigations in Physical Science
Students in this course learn fundamentals of mechanics, electromagnetism, and optics through a series of experiments. Challenging projects will teach students about experimental design, data collection and analysis, presenting results, iterating on designs, and working in teams. In the process, students learn about force, motion, electricity, and light in an introductory environment. This course is heavily hands-on. Each class, students will start with raw materials and work towards a goal, such as designing a bridge that can withstand the greatest load. Through a process that's part tinkering, part theory, and heavily based on collaboration, students create and test a design and use that experience as a jumping-off point for learning both the theory and practice of physics. Each project contains ideas that feed into the next, creating a unified experience for the physical exploration.
This class is designed for students entering grades 6-9.
Schedule in 2020
Aug 3 - Aug 14
1:00 - 4:00 PM
Aug 3 - Aug 14
- Given a mousetrap, string, base, and wheels, design a car, powered by the mousetrap, to travel the longest possible distance. (Target ideas: energy transformations, speed and kinetic energy, elastic and potential energy, friction, rotational motion.)
- Build a pinhole camera which can take photographic film and produce pictures after a long exposure. (Target ideas: how light travels, focusing of light, design optimization.)
- Create a working electric motor from a battery, a magnet, and bits of wire. (Target ideas: flow of electricity, magnetic induction, magnetic forces, transformation of energy.)