Day 8: Buggy Lab

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Today we started our Constant Velocity Particle Motion unit with the buggy lab. Every year I approach it differently, each with its own pros, cons, and twists.

  • Distance or position?
  • Is time the independent or dependent variable?
  • Does time go on the horizontal axis of the graph, or does the independent variable?
  • Should I give different groups different starting points and directions?
  • Should we talk about motion maps before diving into the lab and the mathematical nature of motion?

How do you run your buggy lab?

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About Frank Noschese

HS Physics Teacher constantly questioning my teaching.

One response to “Day 8: Buggy Lab”

  1. Craig Buszka says :

    This year we successfully outsourced the buggy lab to the 8th grade science teachers. For the past several years they have used their 4th quarter to do some physics, in a mostly traditional manner. This spring I spent some time at our middle school to plug for modeling, like we do at the high school, and I ran the pre-lab discussion for the buggy lab with some classes. You can see some of their 8th grade whiteboards on my class forum, here: http://montyfizz.com/viewtopic.php?t=3161So this September, with my students, I gave them a 4′ long glass tube filled with water, and some bbs, and asked, does a bb rolling down an inclined tube move with constant speed, or not? I had a metronome playing over speakers, although many groups found different timing methods. We have a mix of various types of graphs, but this year I feel more confident about our ability to sort through the differences. We’ll find out next week.

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