Exploring marble collisions on ruler tracks

Unit four in physical science begins with rolling a marble down a banana leaf as a demonstration. The data recorded is vertical height versus velocity. A couple data points and altitudes of zero and five centimeters are recorded and then the class is asked to guess the velocity at ten. The students invariable opt for a linear (twice as high is twice as fast). Measurements show this is not the case and the conservation of energy is used to derive the square root model under the system.

Perdania William

In the afternoon I ran with the structure I utilized spring 2015. No opening demonstration, just questions. I wed the spring 2015 opening to the group explanations back end of earlier years, having the students communicate their results, however simple, to each other. No group this summer tackled the complexity of measuring velocity, although all observed that a velocity relationship existed.

Michael Yarofaitor

The class began not with a demonstration, only questions on the board.
  • What happens when one marble is rolled into five marbles on a ruler track?
  • What happens when two marbles are rolled into five marbles on a ruler track?
  • How is the number "in" related to the number "out"?
  • What happens when seven marbles are rolled into ten marbles on a ruler track? How do you know?
  • What happens when the marble(s) roll into a line of marbles slowly?
  • What happen when the marble(s) roll into a line of marbles quickly?
  • Does marble speed inbound affect marble number outbound? That is, does speed affect number?

Sharon Mualia and Julie-Ann Ardos

Ruler tracks, marbles, and stopwatches were available. This laboratory is another example of  laboratory that can be replicated almost anywhere in Micronesia.

Cherish explains her team's findings

The laboratory wrapped up with each pair of researchers reporting their findings. The teams that reported after the first team were a puzzled at first as to what to say, as they had found the same results. I explained that in science a result is made stronger by replication. If others cannot replicate the results, then the original results are discarded. Every team finding the same results acts to confirm the findings as valid.


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