Day 126: Energy as Clay Smashing Ability


I got this idea of energy as clay smashing ability from "The Physics Active Learning Guide" (although the book calls it chalk breaking ability and they use it as an intro to work). This is also similar to Kelly O'Shea's discussion of energy as pain.

A few years ago, I had the students do three mini labs about the factors that affected clay smashing ability for 3 different scenarios: a falling book, a rolling cart, and a flexed ruler. We used play dough with varying success…in most cases it didn't seem soft enough and didn't deform too well. This year I did it more as an interactive demo, but should have let the kids explore more on their own first.


About Frank Noschese

HS Physics Teacher constantly questioning my teaching.

One response to “Day 126: Energy as Clay Smashing Ability”

  1. welikesnow says :

    Frank, I tried this with my physics classes a few years back after we read the David Bodanis Book _E=mc^2_ in which much of the "^2" chapter is devoted to describing an experiment involving smashed clay. We found the Play Doh to be much too bouncy. Sometime I’m going to get the ceramics teacher to help me get real clay of the right consistency to make the investigation work.

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