Newton's Bench Student Lab Manual

Newton's Bench Student Lab Manual

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This manual is specifically designed for the Newton’s Bench kit, bringing a full college laboratory experience for laboratories involving motion and mechanics.  This is typically used in colleges for the first semester of algebra-based or calculus-based physics, but has also been used middle and high school physics, with particular success for the home-bound or home-schooled student who cannot use the traditional laboratory environment.

There are eleven laboratories described in this manual, and your instructor will assign them when appropriate; they are usually assigned directly following the lectures on the topics.

  • Measurement and Scientific Reporting
  • Vectors
  • Gravity
  • Projectile Motion
  • Ramp Physics 
  • Ramps and Conservation of Energy
  • Collisions and Conservation of Momentum
  • Rotational Motion
  • Torque
  • Young's Modulus
  • Kepler's Law

This manual follows a methodology that is typical in labs in many corporations – You must describe how you went about the experiment, what data you collected and the calculations, and your conclusions with caveats for your results.

Your instructor may have a specific way for submitting this information – perhaps an online form, or just submitting the following pages.  The point here is that each laboratory environment has its own requirements – and so does your instructor.  

 

Lab Manual - Introduction

This manual is specifically designed for the Newton’s Bench Kit, bringing a full college laboratory experience for laboratories involving motion and mechanics.  This is typically used in colleges for the first semester of algebra-based or calculus-based physics, but has also been used middle and high school physics, with particular success for the home-bound or home-schooled student who cannot use the traditional laboratory environment.

There are eleven laboratories described in this manual, and your instructor will assign them when appropriate; they are usually assigned directly following the lectures on the topics.

  1. Measurement and Scientific Reporting
  2. Vectors
  3. Gravity
  4. Projectile Motion
  5. Ramp Physics
  6. Ramps and Conservation of Energy
  7. Collisions and Conservation of Momentum
  8. Rotational Motion
  9. Torque
  10. Young’s Modulus
  11. Kepler’s Laws

The manual follows a methodology that is typical in labs in many corporations – You must describe how you went about the experiment, what data you collected and the calculations, and your conclusions with caveats for your results.

Your instructor may have a specific way for submitting this information – perhaps an online form, or just submitting the following pages.  The point here is that each laboratory environment has its own requirements – and so does your instructor.

Sample Lab: Lab #2 - Vectors

In this lab you will use trigonometry and vectors to find the height of an object. 

You or your instructor will choose an object to measure – it can be a house, a tree, or a bookcase.  Below you see that you use the distance to the object with the angle displaced by the object.

You have a trigonometric identity to calculate the opposite side, which would be the height of the house wall above in the picture.

You need two of these variables to get the third. For instance, if I know that the angle displaced to the object is 40 degrees, (as measured by my protractor to my eye), and the distance to the object is 10 meters.

The angle you need to place the protractor to your eye is pictured below. You are placing the protractor beside your eye, with the center hole at the point where your eye achieves focus.

You arrive at the degrees by moving the protractor arm to align with the top of the object, while keeping the bottom of the object at the zero mark on the protractor.

You are measuring the angle displaced by the object, from a certain distance of course.  That distance must be measured by using the tape measure in your kit, or you can get creative, and come up with other ways to measure the distance.

Lab #2 - Laboratory Prep Questions
  1. You are standing 200 meters from a water tower. If you hold up a ruler 0.5 meters in front of you, it only measures to be 0.05 meters tall. How tall is the water tower?
  1. Joe holds two-meter stick upright and he stands a distance from Kathy. Kathy uses a protractor, and measures the angle that the stick displaces as being 18 degrees.  How far apart are Joe and Kathy?

  2. Look up the distance from the Earth to the Moon, and the diameter of the moon. Given this information, how many degrees does the moon ‘displace’ in the sky?

Lab #2 - Content and Analysis
  1. Methodology - in this laboratory you are to measure the height of an object. Below, describe the object, and the distance to the object.  Describe completely how you measured the distance to the object.
  2. Data Analysis - Show the calculations and equations you used to calculate the height of your chosen object.        
  3. Conclusion - Given your calculations,
    show your answer to the right (in meters).
  4. Caveats - In doing this experiment, you should see that measurement and accuracy is important. Please describe below what other equipment you think would have made the lab easier, or your answer more accurate.

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