Using Interactive Physics 4 eighth grade students explored the question “What are the best combination of variables to move a 2 kilogram mass 20 meters?” This was the first introduction for these students to this program. As part of the NYS 8th grade Performance Test students must run an experiment using a golf ball and ramp to move a cup. They have to run 3 trials by rolling the golf ball down a ramp from a 25 cm release point. They then record the distance the cup was moved. On the Performance Test they are instructed to use the distance recorded to show a general pattern of movement and explain why this pattern could be observed. They are then asked to extrapolate this data to other variables that may effect movement.
This Interactive Physics exercise was used to help students prepare for this Performance Test. It allowed students to explore several variables over a short period of time. It allowed students to manipulate variables of their choice. Interactive Physics allowed students to track and explain the patterns that resulted from their chosen manipulated variable. After participating in this activity these students expressed an interest in sharing this experience with other students. They also indicated they would like to work with Interactive Physics on a more regular basis. As all four students said “When can we do this again?”
Panton, Lynn, "Ball And Ramp, How Far Can You Move It?" (2006). Lesson Plans. 164.