Laboratory 52 investigated Hooke's Law using readily available local materials, styrofoam cups, marbles, and elastic bands. This laboratory substitutes the traditional springs and masses, both of which are unavailable in the local schools, with elastic and marbles. I note to the students that if they have no mass balance, and no public school does out here as far as I now, just use five grams per marble. Essentially one is measuring in marble units.
Arthur, Maimai, and Kemble
The elastic is common dress elastic, attached via lengths of string or yarn to overhead hooks. Noting that schools also lack meter sticks, I recommend dropping the cup lower and using rulers. Typical cup descents are less than 30 cm.
Lewis and Lavanaleen
This summer the students massed all thirty marbles at one time. All thirty marbles fit in the mass balance pan. I had the students round to the nearest whole gram that was a multiple of three. Dividing by thirty marbles left only a single decimal place and no repeating decimals.
Joyleen and Nayleen
Fall 2010 the divided answer had been round to the nearest tenth, this does the same thing but handles the rounding beforehand. I also used this opportunity to teach/reteach the rule that one can add the digits to find a multiple of three.
Mary-Ellen and Tracy
Most of the sets of thirty marbles massed between 150 grams and 160 grams. Thus a 152 gram set of thirty was rounded to 153 grams prior to dividing by thirty. The resulting errors are small and are, quite frankly, dwarfed by measurement errors.
The above process, first used fall 2010, removed the need to mass each marble individually, which had been time consuming and interrupted the process of observing the elastic stretch. That fall I noted that after seeing data for this lab over the previous three terms I had come to realize that small differences in marble mass were not significantly affecting the the data. The elastic behaves non-linearly at times
The elastic is only somewhat linear and actually behaves in a somewhat complex manner that varies with the length. This provides fertile ground for discussions with groups of their data, although this is generally only possible with groups that have a lap top with which to chart the data. Hand drawn graphs rarely capture the subtle S curves that are often encountered in the this laboratory.
This term this is the second lab that gets handed in. Summer term there is no working in the A204 computer laboratory.