Our 7th graders do! This past week they have been conducting labs to see the impact of height and mass on the amount of potential energy stored in an object. Understanding that to calculate the potential energy of an object you multiply the mass times the gravitational acceleration (9.8m/s) times the height, they first isolated the height of the drop of a ball as an independent variable. They dropped a tennis ball from 50cm, 75cm, and 100cm then recorded the height of the bounce. After the collection of their data, they used their information to calculate the potential energy and analyzed their data to draw a conclusion on the impact of the height of the drop on the amount of potential energy.
Next, the 7th graders decided to isolate the mass of the object as the independent variable and designed another experiment. This time they dropped a tennis ball, ping-pong ball, and golf ball from 100 cm and measured the height of the bounce. Again, they analyzed the data, calculated the potential energy, and drew conclusions. Their 21st Century Skills were put to the task as they thought critically, created an experiment, collaborated with their lab partners, and communicated their results! Way to go, 7th Grade!!
By: Yvette Stuewe, MS Science