Conservation of Energy (Lab 3)

Contributor
University of Minnesota Physics Department
Type Category
Assessment Materials Instructional Materials
Types
Experiment/Lab Activity
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

The resource (beginning on page 15) gives excellent background information that derives the equation for the conservation of energy of a falling object. Using that background as a guide, the resource then has the students perform an experiment with a PASCO cart on a track that is pulled by a falling mass. The experiment asks the students to determine the kinetic energy of the cart and compare it to the gravitational potential energy of the falling mass. From their results, the students are asked to state if energy is conserved.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 12
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-PS3-2 Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative positions of particles (objects)

Clarification Statement: Examples of phenomena at the macroscopic scale could include the conversion of kinetic energy to thermal energy, the energy stored due to position of an object above the earth, and the energy stored between two electrically-charged plates. Examples of models could include diagrams, drawings, descriptions, and computer simulations.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The resource could better meet the PE if it required students to produce diagrams, drawings, or descriptions that clearly showed the student’s understanding of the energy conversion taking place in this experiment. It does a good job of asking students to analyze their results and to extend their knowledge to another situation, but the instructor should be sure to ask the students to include diagrams, drawings, or descriptions of the energy conversion taking place in an effort to bring modeling more fully into the lesson.

HS-PS3-1 Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on explaining the meaning of mathematical expressions used in the model.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to basic algebraic expressions or computations; to systems of two or three components; and to thermal energy, kinetic energy, and/or the energies in gravitational, magnetic, or electric fields.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The resource could better meet the PE if it required students to produce diagrams, drawings, or descriptions that clearly showed the student’s understanding of the energy conversion taking place in this experiment. It does a good job of asking students to analyze their results and to extend their knowledge to another situation, but the instructor should be sure to ask the students to include diagrams, drawings, or descriptions of the energy conversion taking place in an effort to bring modeling more fully into the lesson.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The experiment does a good job of addressing the Practices of Using Models and using Mathematics. It doesn’t address the development of a model, and it could address the Practice of Planning and Carrying Out an Investigation if the instructor allowed the students to develop their own procedures, including how much data to collect.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The resource fully supports the DCI.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The resource fully supports the DCI.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The resource fully supports the DCI.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The resource doesn’t address the transfer of energy between systems, but otherwise it fully addresses the CCC.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This resource is a very strong NGSS resource, but could be strengthened by asking students to produce diagrams, drawings, or descriptions that clearly showed the student’s understanding of the energy conversion taking place in this experiment. It does a good job of asking students to analyze their results, extend their knowledge to another situation, and use models. However, it doesn’t address the development of a model, and it could be adapted to include the practice of Planning and Carrying Out an Investigation if the instructor allowed the students to develop their own procedures, including how much data to collect.

  • Instructional Supports: This resource actually very elegantly derives the conservation of energy equation for the students, so by showing them from first principals where the Law of Conservation of Energy comes from, it gives them a firm grounding upon which to understand the concept at a deep level.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: During the experiment itself, the resource doesn’t provide opportunities to assess the students, but the post-lab questions do provide for good assessment opportunities. Post-lab, the students are asked to account for any differences in the amount of energy, and they are asked to apply their knowledge of the conservation of energy to the analysis of a bowling ball swinging on a cable.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The resource does use PASCO probeware, but the students are told to use it in a very prescribed way so they don’t have freedom in how to use it. The Technological Interactivity Rating could easily be improved if the instructor gave the students freedom to design their own methods and procedures.