Day 20: Bowling Ball & Mallets 2015

College-Prep Physics: We did the bowling ball and mallet activity today as an introduction to forces and motion. Why do things speed up, slow down, or change direction? One of the tasks asks students to use the mallet to get a moving bowling ball to make a 90 degree turn. What to do is not obvious to students. They just want to hit the ball at right angle. In the video, you’ll hear one group come to terms with their incorrect prediction and how they fix it. They are learning directly from their experience — more powerful and longer lasting than simply listening to me lecture!

I improved my handout from last year, changing some wording and adding a few additional scenarios. You can get it here: WORKSHEET Bowling Ball Motion 2015

We hadn’t done motion diagrams before, so before we played with the bowling balls, I started the lesson with this slide:

strobephotosThe strobe photos came from The Physics Classroom Photo Gallery. The photos made for the best introduction to motion diagrams I’ve ever had.

NGSS Science and Engineering Practice #8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information



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About Frank Noschese

HS Physics Teacher constantly questioning my teaching.

11 responses to “Day 20: Bowling Ball & Mallets 2015”

  1. Robert berkey says :

    Found more images like this. At. Google: ‘dartfish image gallery’. With digital cameras no one seen or heard of an accidental double exposure. These are very helpful visualizing/conceptualizing motion maps.

  2. Hugh Ross says :

    I can’t wait to try this lab!

    My students are already comfortable with motion maps, so I’m going to try this handout:

    • Hugh Ross says :

      I realized that someone at church is the manager at a bowling alley. She found 7 de-commissioned bowling balls for me! I’m on my way to pick them up along with a stop at harbor freight for the mallets.

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