Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

(PS-2873C)

Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Conservation of Energy

Lab Summary

Use a motion sensor to detect how energy is transformed in a cart and track system and to observe that the total energy of the system is conserved.

Theory

Students observe the behavior of a cart and track system to see how energy is transformed. By comparing the extremes of the system, the students see that the total energy of the system is conserved. Students:

  • Determine the points of maximum gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy.
  • Calculate values for gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy.
  • Compare the total energy values to other points in the system to prove that energy is conserved.

Method

In this investigation, students gain experience with the following tools and techniques:

  • Measuring the motion of a cart and track system using a motion sensor.
  • Interpreting a graph of Position versus Time and Velocity versus Time to determine critical points in the motion of a cart.
  • Employing basic trigonometric relationships to calculate gravitational potential energy.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Motion Sensor

(PS-2103A)

The PASPORT Motion Sensor accurately measures position, velocity, and acceleration of a target. Can be used to track the motion of carts, balls, people and more.

Materials Used:

Balance

Dynamics track

Dynamics track end stop

Dynamics cart with plunger

Dynamics track angle indicator

Dynamics Track Pivot clamp

Rod stand (to elevate track)

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Physics Starter Sensor Bundle

(PS-2923)

A sensor bundle specifically designed to get you started using probeware in your physics lab. Also: perform 26 of the 37 Lab Activities from Physics through Inquiry.

Option 2:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle

(PS-2931B)

Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.