Resource Description:
Kinetic Books: Virtuala Physics Labs: Navigating race tracks

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Virtual labs, covering topics ranging from one-dimensional motion to special relativity, augment any physics instructor's toolkit. Students can discover the principles of orbits and conduct a mission to Mars; see wave superposition and create stringed instruments; and much more. The per-student cost starts at $24.95, or $299.00 for equipping a typical computer lab.

Media: Software
Cost: $24.95 single user
Subjects: Physics
Types: Visualization or Animation, Graphing, Modeling, or Mapping, Virtual Lab
of resource:
From the web site:

This lab starts with a brief review of acceleration in one dimension and then explores how an object moving at a constant speed can be accelerating.

In the lab, the students drive a racecar with special instrumentation. To start, they drive the car around a curve approximated with linear segments and have to set the velocity components for each segment. There is also an exercise where they try to drive a car around a circular track by continually adjusting the car's x and y velocity components using the keyboard arrow keys, a surprisingly challenging and informative task.

The lab also has exercises on centripetal acceleration. The students record data in order to determine how curve radius and speed determine centripetal acceleration. They must apply what they learn to beat a computer racecar around a track having different curves. Too slow and they lose; too fast and they skid off the track. A final optional exercise includes the topic of force; students are told the coefficient of friction between the car and the track and are again asked to beat the computer racer.

Posted to site: 04/02/2007
Researching the Wireless High School: Effects on Science Teaching and Implications for Professional Development, Copyright 2013 TERC.
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