Today in Honors Physics we continued to follow this plan, and the students actually got to see the power of computational modeling in simulating a race that agreed with what we saw in reality. The one change I might make in the future is make it easier to identify individual student’s cars in the program itself in order to allow for easier comparison to the real race we created.
In Intro Physics we got started by introducing a rational for this course—we don’t just want students to fill up a notebook with worksheets or solved problems, instead, we want them to come away from class having made a difference in the world, and so we’re going to get them to conduct an energy audit of 3 faculty homes.
From there we started the experiments to determine whether a battery of peanut contains more energy. To make this question a little bit more manageable, we asked the students to first compare the energy content of dead and live batteries, and the energy content of burned and unburned peanuts. It took some thinking, but students were able to come up with some experiments that did a good job of showing why the live battery and unburned peanut must have more energy. Here’s one snippet.