Day 8: Buggy Lab


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?


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: 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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