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 appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.
Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This lesson should come in a sequence after students have worked with springs, potential energy, gravitational potential energy and the law of conservation of energy.
The author misuses the term “equilibrium” when discussing the spring being in a compressed position, in this example the equilibrium state should be the uncompressed position.
This activity has students measure the distance the spring compresses and then also measure the height to which the pen jumps after the spring is released. It has students calculate the initial vertical velocity, which is good, but it fails to explicitly have the students realize that the spring compression directly relates to the maximum height the pen jumps to through the law of conservation of energy. The instructor will want to modify the hand out so that the students are encouraged to consider how the initial spring potential energy and the pen’s final gravitational potential energy are related. That relation will allow the students to compare the theoretical jumping height to the measured jumping height. This is shown in the sample lab write up that students may use as a guide, but it isn’t explicitly addressed in their lab activity handout.