We use ‘mechanics’ when we move or move objects; we use ‘thermodynamics’ when we cook; we use ‘optics’ when we see objects and ‘acoustics’ when we hear. Mechanics deals with motion and the forces responsible for motion. Your students will learn about Newton’s laws of motion and will apply this knowledge when explaining a practical application. This experiment is fun and the students will enjoy setting it up, conducting the experiment and explaining all the forces involved in making the object move. It is a useful experiment, where students will be able to observe the relevance of physics.
Scientists are often inspired by the biological world and how certain species can manage to do specific functions. They use physics and engineering to bring their inventions to reality. One of these inventions is the parachute which is used to slow the descent of a person or an object to Earth, and in nature many seeds drift through the air in natural ‘parachutes’. Parachutes are used in many applications including sports, recreation and the military. There are a lot of factors affecting how a parachute will descend, students will take the role of a physicist to study these factors and come up with the best settings for a safe descent.
One of the most prevalent offences in the modern world is the use and distribution of illicit drugs. The social harms caused by the proliferation of drugs are countless; including physical injuries, accidents, domestic violence, birth defects and death. Drugs are made of chemicals with specific structures that cause changes in the body. Forensic science can differentiate between drugs by using a number of tests which identify them according to their chemical composition. In this investigation students will take the role of a forensic scientist and will use two well-known tests to identify a number of drugs.
Manufacturers always make claims about their products. In this investigation, we will examine the packets of Blu-Tack and white tack, and put any marketing claims to the test! This investigation is simple, inexpensive and a great way to teach students the scientific method. While a basic framework is provided, students will have to think hard about how to conduct a fair-test. This investigation has two parts. The first is at a prescribed level, while the second is at a guided open-inquiry level because students must write their own method and choose how to record and analyse their results.
This investigation looks at how planets orbit around the sun in a seemingly consistent way. However, what would happen if any one feature of the solar system was to change? This simple and inexpensive activity asks students to make a model of a planetary orbit and play a game in order to create a ‘balanced’ spin. This creates a hands-on experience that engages students in a process of discovery and self-directed learning. This investigation covers information that is given in the junior sciences, such as understanding gravity and the development of models of the solar system.
Motion is one of our daily life routines and it can efficiently be represented by graphs; for example, a journey of a car travelling from home to the supermarket and back can be fully represented graphically, showing how fast the car was travelling and how many kilometres it took for the whole journey and the total time taken. Furthermore, we will be able to find the instantaneous velocity at any time from the graph. This is how powerful graphing is. In this study, students will analyse the motion of a ball and will learn how to extract information by investigating a motion graph.
This investigation has been designed to engage students with open inquiry, while teaching laboratory skills and separation techniques. Students will be required to plan and conduct their own experiment with the equipment that is provided. Students are asked to analyse what separation techniques were successful or not, as well as evaluate their experiment for any errors. This investigation is appropriate for students in grades 7-8. Ideas for extension are provided that could suit advanced students. Students will benefit from identifying key terms such as pure substances, mixtures, solvent, solute and sediment. Students will also be exposed to multiple separation techniques, such as filtration, decantation, evaporation and crystallisation (if the extension activity is chosen). References to how these techniques are used in the home will allow students to connect the dots about how common they are. Year 8 students will be able to identify whether physical or chemical changes are taking place.