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Lab Manual

Physics I

LabPaq: PK-1

A Lab Manual of 13 Experiments for Independent Study

Published by

Hands-On Labs, Inc.

Physics 1: Lab Manual of Experiments for the Independent Study of Physics

Designed to accompany Physics LabPaq PK-1 081611

LabPaq® is a registered trademark of Hands-On Labs, Inc. (HOL). The LabPaq referenced in this manual is produced by Hands-On Labs, Inc. which holds and reserves all copyrights on the intellectual properties associated with the LabPaq’s unique design, assembly, and learning experiences. The laboratory manual included with a LabPaq is intended for the sole use by that LabPaq’s original purchaser and may not be reused without a LabPaq or by others without the specific written consent of HOL. No portion of any LabPaq manual’s materials may be reproduced, transmitted or distributed to others in any manner, nor may they be downloaded to any public or privately shared systems or servers without the express written consent of HOL. No changes may be made in any LabPaq materials without the express written consent of HOL. HOL has invested years of research and development into these materials, reserves all rights related to them, and retains the right to impose substantial penalties for any misuse.

Author: Peter Jeschofnig, Ph.D.

Published by: Hands-On Labs, Inc.

3880 S. Windermere St.

Englewood, CO 80110

Phone: 303-679-6252

Toll-free: 1-866-206-0773

Fax: 270-738-0979

www.LabPaq.com

E-mail: [email protected]

Printed and bound in the United States of America.

ISBN: 978-1-866151-39-0

The experiments in this manual have been and may be conducted in a regular formal laboratory or classroom setting with the user providing their own equipment and supplies. The manual was especially written, however, for the benefit of independent study students who do not have convenient access to such facilities. It allows them to perform physics experiments at home or elsewhere by using LabPaq PK-1, a collection of experimental equipment and supplies specifically packaged by Hands-On Labs, Inc. to accompany this manual.

Use of this manual and authorization to perform any of its experiments are expressly

conditioned upon the user reading, understanding, and agreeing to abide by all the safety

precautions contained herein.

Although the author and publisher have exhaustively researched all sources to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in this book, we assume no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions or any other inconsistency herein. Any slight of people, organizations, materials or products is unintentional.

Table of Contents

Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 4

Important Information to Help Students Study Science ..................................................... 4

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SCIENCE! ................................................................................ 4

Laboratory Equipment and Techniques ........................................................................... 13

Use, Disposal, and Cleaning Instructions for Common Materials ................................... 19

HOW TO WRITE LAB NOTES AND LAB REPORTS .................................................................. 21

Lab Notes .......................................................................................................................... 21

Lab Reports ....................................................................................................................... 23

Laboratory Drawings ......................................................................................................... 27

Visual Presentation of Data .............................................................................................. 28

Computer Graphing Using MS Excel ................................................................................. 32

SAFETY CONCERNS ............................................................................................................... 40

Basic Safety Guidelines .................................................................................................... 41

Material Safety Data Sheets ............................................................................................. 46

Science Lab Safety Reinforcement Agreement ............................................................... 50

EXPERIMENTS

1. Experimental Errors and Uncertainty .............................................................................. 53

2. Measurement: Length, Mass, Volume, Density, and Time ............................................ 63

3. Trigonometric Measurements ......................................................................................... 82

4. Data Collection ................................................................................................................. 90

5. Acceleration ................................................................................................................... 104

6. Friction............................................................................................................................ 112

7. Simple Machine – Lever ................................................................................................ 122

8. Simple Machine – Pulleys ............................................................................................. 132

9. Pendulum and the Calculation of g ............................................................................... 138

10.Centripetal Acceleration ................................................................................................ 145

11.Hooke’s Law .................................................................................................................. 161

12.Specific Heat Capacity of Metals .................................................................................. 169

13.Determining the Speed of Sound ................................................................................. 177

APPENDIX

Using Statistics .................................................................................................................... 192

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 4

Introduction Important Information to Help Students Study Science

Version 09.3.05

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF SCIENCE!

Don't be afraid to take science courses. When you complete them, you will be very proud of

yourself and will wonder why you were ever afraid of the “S” word – Science! After their first

science course most students say they thoroughly enjoyed it, learned a lot of useful

information relevant to their personal lives and careers, and only regret not having studied

science sooner.

Science is not some mystery subject comprehended only by eggheads. Science is simply a

way of learning about our natural world and how it works by testing ideas and making

observations. Learning about the characteristics of the natural world, how those

characteristics change, and how those characteristics interact with each other make it

easier to understand ourselves and our physical environment and to make the multitude of

personal and global decisions that affect our lives and our planet. Plus, science credits on

an academic transcript are impressive, and your science knowledge may create some

unique job opportunities.

All sciences revolve around the study of natural phenomena and require hands-on physical

laboratory experiences to permit and encourage personal observations, discovery, creativity,

and genuine learning. As increasing numbers of students embrace online and independent

study courses, laboratory experiences must remain an integral part of science education.

This lab manual’s author and publisher are science educators who welcome electronic

technology as an effective tool to expand and enhance instruction. However, technology can

neither duplicate nor replace learning experiences afforded to students through traditional

hands-on laboratory and field activities. This does not mean that some experiments cannot

or should not be replaced or reinforced by computer simulations; but any course of science

study must also provide sufficient hands-on laboratory and field experiences to:

! Engage students in open-ended, investigative processes by using scientific problem solving.

! Provide application of concepts students have seen in their study materials which reinforce and clarify scientific principles and concepts.

! Involve multiple senses in three-dimensional rather than two-dimensional learning experiences that are important for greater retention of concepts and for

accommodation of different leaning styles.

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 5

! Stimulate students to understand the nature of science including its unpredictability and complexity.

! Provide opportunities to engage in collaborative work and to model scientific attitudes and behavior.

! Develop mastery of techniques and skills needed for potential science, engineering, and technology careers.

! Ensure advanced placement science courses transfer to college credit.

The knowledge gained from science courses with strong laboratory components enables

students to understand in practical and concrete ways their own physical makeup, the

functioning of the natural world around them, and contemporary scientific and

environmental issues. It is only by maintaining hands-on laboratory experiences in our

curricula that the brightest and most promising students will be stimulated to learn scientific

concepts and avoid being turned-off by lecture- and textbook-only approaches. Physical

experimentation may offer some students their only opportunity to experience a science

laboratory environment. All students – as potential voters, parents, teachers, leaders, and

informed citizens – will benefit from a well-rounded education that includes science

laboratory experiences, when it is time for them to make sound decisions affecting the

future of their country and the world.

19th century scientist, Ira Remsen (1846-1927) on the subject of Experimentation:

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 6

This lab manual can be used by all students, regardless of the laboratory facilities available

to them. The experiments are based on the principles of micro- and small-scale science

which have been successfully used in campus laboratories for decades. LabPaq’s micro-

and small-scale experiments can also be performed at home, in a dorm room, or at a small

learning center that lacks a formal laboratory.

What are Micro- and Small-scale Experiments?

You may be among the growing number of students to take a full-credit, laboratory science

course through independent study, due to the development and perfection of micro-scale

and small-scale experimentation techniques over the past half century. While

experimentation on any scale is foundational to fully understanding science concepts,

science courses in the past have required experimentation to be performed in the campus

laboratory due to the potential hazards inherent in traditional experimentation.

Potential hazards, increasing chemical, specimen, and science equipment costs, and

environmental concerns made high schools, colleges, and universities reexamine the

traditional laboratory methods used to teach science. Scientists began to scale down the

quantities of materials and the size of equipment used in experiments and found reaction

results remained unchanged.

Over time, more and more traditional science experiments were redesigned to be performed

on micro and small scales. Educational institutions eventually recognized that the scientific

reaction, not the size of the reaction, facilitates learning. Successive comparative

assessments have proven that students’ learning is not impaired by studying small-sized

reactions. Many assessments even suggest that science learning is enhanced by small-scale

experimentation.

The primary pioneer and most prominent contributor to micro- and small-scale

experimentation was Dr. Hubert Alyea, a chemistry professor at Princeton University, who

began utilizing micro-scale experiments in the 1950s. Dr. Alyea reformatted numerous

chemistry experiments and also designed many of the techniques and equipment used in

micro- and small-scale science today. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Peter Jeschofnig of Colorado

Mountain College pioneered the development of LabPaq’s academically aligned, small-scale

experiments that can be performed at home. Hands-On Labs, Inc. has subsequently proven

that students can actually perform LabPaq's rigorous science experiments at home and still

achieve an equivalent, if not higher, level of learning than their campus-based peers.

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 7

The Organization of this Lab Manual

Before proceeding with your experiments, please thoroughly read and understand each

section of this lab manual, so you understand what is expected of you.

Introduction and How to Study Science: These sections include important information about

general scientific subject matter and specific information about effectively studying science

and conducting science experiments. Read these sections carefully and take them to heart!

How to Perform an Experiment and Laboratory Equipment and Techniques: Adhering to the

procedures described in these sections will greatly facilitate experimental activities. The

laboratory techniques and equipment described primarily apply to full-scale experiments and

formal laboratories; however, knowledge of these items is important to a basic

understanding of science and is relevant to home-based experimentation.

How to Write Lab Notes and Lab Reports: Like all serious scientists, you must record formal

notes detailing your activities, observations, and findings for each experiment. These notes

will reinforce your learning experiences and science knowledge and provide the basis from

which you will prepare Lab Reports for your instructor. This section explains how these

documents should be organized and prepared.

Safety Concerns: The Basic Safety Guidelines and Safety Reinforcement Agreement are the

most important sections of this lab manual and should be reviewed before each experiment.

The safety sections are relevant to both laboratory and non-laboratory experimentation. The

guidelines describe potential hazards as well as basic safety equipment and safety

procedures designed to avoid such hazards.

Required Equipment and Supplies: If you are performing these experiments in a non-

laboratory setting, you must obtain the LabPaq specifically designed to accompany this lab

manual. The LabPaq includes all the basic equipment and supplies needed to complete the

experiments, except for minor items usually found in the average home or obtained at local

stores. At the beginning of each experiment you will find a materials section listing which

items are found in the LabPaq and which items you will need to provide. Review this list

carefully before you begin an experiment to ensure you have all required items.

Experiments: The experiments included in this lab manual were specifically selected to

accompany related course materials for a traditional academic term. These experiments

emphasize a hands-on, experimental approach for gaining a sound understanding of

scientific principles. The lab manual’s rigorous Lab Report requirements help reinforce and

communicate your understanding of each experiment’s related science principles and

strengthen your communication skills. This traditional, scientific method approach to

learning science reflects the teaching philosophy of the authors, Hands-On Labs, Inc., and

science educators around the globe.

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 8

HOW TO STUDY SCIENCE

It is unfortunate that many people develop a fear of science somewhere early in life. Yes, the

natural sciences are not the easiest subjects to learn; but neither are they the hardest. Like

in any other academic endeavor, if you responsibly apply yourself, conscientiously study your

course materials, and thoughtfully complete your assignments, you will learn the material.

Following are some hints for effectively studying science and any other subject, both on or

off campus.

Plan to Study: You must schedule a specific time and establish a specific place in which to

seriously devote yourself to your studies. Think of studying like you would think of a job. Jobs

have specific times and places in which to get the work done, and studying should be no

different. Just as television, friends, and other distractions are not permitted on a job, they

should not be permitted to interfere with your studies. If you want to do something well, you

must be serious about it, and you cannot learn when you are distracted. Only after you have

finished your studies should you allow time for distractions.

Get in the Right Frame of Mind: Think positively about yourself and what you are doing. Put

yourself in a positive frame of mind to enjoy what you are about to learn, and then get to

work. Organize any materials and equipment you will need in advance so you don't have to

interrupt your work later. Read your syllabus and any other instructions and know exactly

what your assignment is and what is expected of you. Mentally review what you have already

learned. Write down any questions you have, and then review previous materials to answer

those questions. Move on, if you haven't found the answer after a reasonable amount of

time and effort. The question will germinate inside your mind, and the answer will probably

present itself as you continue your studies. If not, discuss the question later with your

instructor.

Be Active with the Material: Learning is reinforced by relevant activity. When studying, feel

free to talk to yourself, scribble notes, draw pictures, pace out a problem, or tap out a

formula. The more physically active things you do with your study materials, the better you

will learn. Have highlighters, pencils, and note pads handy. Highlight important data, read it

out loud, and make notes. If there is a concept you are having problems with, stand up and

pace while you think it through. Try to see the action taking place in your mind. Throughout

your day, try to recall things you have recently learned, incorporate them into your

conversations, and teach them to friends. These activities will help to imprint the related

information in your brain and move you from simple knowledge to true understanding of the

subject matter.

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 9

Do the Work and Think about What You Are Doing: Sure, there are times when you might get

away with taking a shortcut in your studies, but in doing so you will probably shortchange

yourself. The things we really learn are the things we discover ourselves, which is why we

don't learn as much from simple lectures, passive videos, or someone simply telling us the

answers to our questions. Discovery learning – figuring things out for ourselves – is the most

effective and long-lasting form of learning. When you have an assignment, don't just go

through the motions. Enjoy your work, think about what you are doing, be curious, ask

yourself questions, examine your results, and consider the implications of your findings.

These critical thinking techniques will improve and enrich your learning process. When you

complete your assignments independently and thoroughly, you will be genuinely

knowledgeable and can be very proud of yourself.

How to Study Independently

There is no denying that learning through any method of independent study is very different

from learning through classes held in traditional classrooms. It takes a great deal of

personal motivation and discipline to succeed in a course of independent study where there

are no instructors or fellow students to give you structure and feedback. These problems are

not insurmountable, and meeting the challenges of independent study can provide

tremendous personal satisfaction. The key to successful independent study is having a

personal study plan and the personal discipline to stick to that plan.

Properly Use Your Learning Tools: The basic tools for web courses and other distance

learning methods are often similar, consisting of computer software, videos, textbooks, and

study guides. Check with your course instructor to make sure you acquire all the materials

you will need. You can obtain these items from campus bookstores, libraries, or the Internet.

Related course lectures and videos may even be broadcast on your local public and

educational television channels. If you choose to do your laboratory experimentation

independently, you will need the special equipment and supplies described in this lab

manual and contained in its companion LabPaq.

For each study session, first work through the appropriate sections of your course materials,

because these serve as a substitute for classroom lectures and demonstrations. Take notes

as you would in a regular classroom. Actively work with any computer and text materials,

carefully review your study guide, and complete all related assignments. If you do not feel

confident about the material covered, repeat the previous steps until you do. It is wise to

always review your previous work before proceeding to a new section to reinforce what

you’ve previously learned and prepare you to better absorb new information. Actual

experimenting is among the last things done in a laboratory session.

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 10

Plan to Study: A normal science course with a laboratory component may require you to

spend as many as 15 hours a week studying and completing your assignments. To really

learn new material requires at least three hours of study time each week for each hour of

course credit taken. This applies as equally to independent study as it does to regular

classroom courses. On a school campus science students are usually in class for three

hours and in the laboratory for two to three hours each week. Then, they still need at least

nine hours to read their text and complete their assignments. Knowing approximately how

much time is required will help you formulate a study plan at the beginning of the course.

Schedule Your Time Wisely: The more often you interact with study materials and call them

to mind, the more likely you are to reinforce and retain the information. It is much better to

study in several short blocks of time rather than in one long, mind-numbing session.

Accordingly, you should schedule several study periods throughout the week or during each

day. Please do not try to do all of your study work on the weekends! You will burn yourself

out, you won't learn as much, and you will probably end up feeling miserable about yourself

and science too. Wise scheduling can prevent such unpleasantness and frustration.

Choose the Right Place for Your Home Laboratory: The best place to perform at-home

experiments will be determined by the nature of the individual experiments. However, this

place is usually an uncluttered room where a door can be closed to keep out children and

pets; a window or door can be opened for fresh air ventilation and fume exhaust; there is a

source of running water for fire suppression and cleanup; and there is a counter or tabletop

work surface. A kitchen usually meets all these requirements. Sometimes the bathroom

works too, but it can be cramped and subject to interruptions.

Review each experiment before starting any work to help you select the most appropriate

work area. Because some of the equipment and supplies in your LabPaq may pose dangers

to small children and animals, always keep safety in mind when selecting a work area, and

always choose an area where you cannot be disturbed by children or pets.

Use a Lab Partner: While the experiments in the LabPaq can be performed independently, it

is often fun and useful to have a lab partner to discuss ideas with, help take measurements,

and reinforce your learning process. Whether your partner is a parent, spouse, sibling, or

friend, you will have to explain what you are doing, and in the process of teaching another,

you will better teach yourself. Always review your experiments several days ahead of time so

you have time to line up a partner if needed.

Perform Internet Research: Students in today’s electronic information age are often

unaware of how fortunate they are to have so much information available at the click of a

mouse. Consider that researchers of the past had to physically go to libraries, search

through card catalogs for possible sources of information, and wait weeks to receive books

and journals that may not contain the information they needed. Then they had to begin their

search all over again! Now you can find information in a matter of minutes.

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 11

Since most courses today include online components, it is assumed that you have

reasonable computer skills. If you make ample use of those skills and include online

research as part of your study routine, you can greatly enhance your depth of learning as

well as improve your grades. Keep a web browser open as you review your course materials

and laboratory assignments. When you encounter words and concepts that you have

difficulty fully understanding, perform a quick web search and review as many sites as

needed until the definition or concept is clear in your mind.

Web searches are especially valuable in science. For example, if you have difficulty with a

concept, you can usually perform an image search that will help visually clarify the object of

interest. Perform a text search to find descriptions and information from leading scientists at

famous institutions all over the world. For unfamiliar terms, enter the word “define” plus the

unfamiliar term into your search engine and a myriad of differently phrased definitions will

be available to help you.

This lab manual lists numerous respected websites that you may find useful, and you will

undoubtedly find many more on your own. Rely only on trusted government and educational

institutions as sources for valid research data. Be especially skeptical of and double-check

information garnered from personal blogs and wiki sites like wikipedia.org, where anyone,

regardless of their expertise or integrity, can post and edit information. As students all over

the world are finding, the worldwide web is a treasure trove of information, but not all of it is

valid!

Finally, while website links in this lab manual were valid at the time of printing, many good

websites become unavailable or change URLs. If this happens, simply go to one of the other

sites listed or perform a web search for more current sites.

HOW TO PERFORM AN EXPERIMENT

Although each experiment is different, the process of preparing, performing, and recording

an experiment is essentially the same.

Read the Entire Experiment before You Start: Knowing what you are going to do before you

do it will help you organize your work and be more effective and efficient.

Review Basic Safety: Before beginning work on any experiment, reread the lab manual’s

safety sections, try to foresee any potential hazards, and take appropriate steps to prevent

safety problems.

Organize Your Work Space, Equipment, and Materials: It is hard to organize your thoughts in

a disorganized environment. Assemble all required equipment and supplies before you

begin working.

© Hands-On Labs, Inc. LabPaq PK-1 12

Outline Your Lab Notes: Outline the information needed for your Lab Notes and set up any

required data tables before the experiment, to make it easier to enter observations and

results as they occur. LabPaq CDs normally include a Report Assistant containing .rtf files of

each experiment’s questions and data tables. These files can be copied and pasted into

your Lab Notes to facilitate your compilation of data and text information.

Perform the Experiment According to Instructions: Follow all directions precisely in

sequential order. This is not the time to be creative. Do not attempt to improvise your own

procedures!

Think About What You Are Doing: Stop and give yourself time to reflect on what has

happened in your experiment. What changes occurred? Why? What do they mean? How do

they relate to the real world of science? This step can be the most fun and often creates

"light bulb" experiences of …