Semester 1: The Study of Motion |
Unit 1: Science and Engineering – In this unit students learn the basic
scientific skills they will need throughout the course, such as measurement,
graphing, and the scientific method. The unit's project is a homemade mechanical
timer contest, which is an application of the Scientific Method – coming up with
ideas, experimenting and testing. The timer must be homemade, and it must be
mechanical (no electricity or electronics), and it needs to measure time
accurately. |
Unit 2: Describing Motion – In this unit students learn how to describe
and measure linear motion and projectile motion, in terms of distance, speed,
velocity, and acceleration. The unit's project is a catapult, which is an
application of projectile motion. Students build a catapult that can throw
a tennis ball 15 meters away and hit a 1-meter target. |
Unit 3: Laws of Motion – In this unit students learn how to explain why
objects move the way they do, using an understanding of forces and Newton's
three Laws of Motion. The unit's project is a wooden tower, which is an
application of combining forces. Students build a wood tower that meets
specific dimension requirements and can support the most downward force
without failing. |
Unit 4: Energy – In this unit students learn how to describe motion
in terms of forms of energy - kinetic energy (energy of motion) and potential
energy (energy of position). They also learn how to explain motion using the
Law of Conservation of Energy. The unit's project is a mousetrap-powered car,
which is an application of energy transfer in simple machines. Students build
a toy car which can travel the farthest and fastest while propelled only by a
single standard mousetrap. |
Unit 5: Momentum – In this unit students learn how to describe motion
in terms of momentum and the changes in momentum that objects experience due
to forces acting on them., They also learn how to explain motion using the
Law of Conservation of Momentum. The unit's project is a Mars landing craft,
which is an application of impact forces. The craft is a container that can
hold two eggs and protect them from breaking when dropped a distance of 2
meters onto concrete. The container must also be as lightweight as
possible. |
Unit 6: Circular Motion and Gravity – In this unit students extend the
principles they have learned for linear motion to describe and explain
circular motion. They also learn how to explain gravity using the Law of
Universal Gravitation, and they apply these concepts to explain the motions
of planets, satellites and other objects in space. The unit's project is a
water bottle rocket, which is an application of center of gravity and
stability. The rocket is made from a 2-liter bottle that is propelled
by water and air pressure. The rocket must go as high as possible, and stay
in the air as long as possible. |
Semester 2: The Study of Energy |
Unit 7: Matter – In this unit students learn about the structure and
properties of matter in each of its phases: solid, liquid, and gas, with a focus
on physical properties of matter such as pressure and buoyancy. The unit's
project is a cargo boat, which is an application of buoyancy. The boat is a
homemade, electric-motor-propelled boat that can travel as fast as possible
while carrying a 1-kilogram cargo (without sinking, of course). |
Unit: 8 Heat Energy – In this unit students learn about one form
of energy, heat - how it is measured, how it is transferred (by conduction,
convection, and radiation), and its effects on materials. The unit's project
is a solar heater, which is an application of heat transfer. The heater is a
size-limited device that can use solar energy to raise the temperature of a
set amount of water as high as possible. |
Unit 9: Waves and Sound – In this unit students learn about waves,
a common form of energy transfer. They use wave concepts to explain sound and
music. The unit's project is a homemade musical instrument, which is an
application of how sound is produced. Students must make a homemade mechanical
device that can play an 8-note scale and also play a recognizable tune. |
Unit 10: Light and Optics – In this unit students learn about
light energy - what it is, how it interacts with ma,, and the uses of light
energy in our everyday lives (mirrors and lenses). The unit's project is a
photo contest, which is an application of optics. Students make the best photo
of a homemade U.F.O., a photo of an optical illusion that uses a property of
light, and a "What Is It?" photo. |
Unit 11: Electricity and Magnetism – In this unit students learn
about electric energy and magnetic energy, and their use in electric circuits
and devices. The unit's project is a magnet car, which is an application of
electric circuits and electromagnets. The car is propelled by a DC electric
motor and carries a homemade DC electromagnet that can pick up paper clips
off of the floor. The goal is to pick up as many paper clips as possible
while traveling a 5-meter distance as fast as possible. |
Unit 12: Nuclear Energy – In this unit students learn about
nuclear energy, radiation, fission, and fusion. The unit's project is a
Star Wars Project, which is not directly related to nuclear energy, but
instead is an application of concepts studied throughout the year. Students
choose a scene from one of the Star Wars movies that shows a violation of a
physics principle, and they give a class presentation that shows the scene,
identifies the violated principle, and explains how the scene should have
been. |