Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers

Follow-on Toy Popper Lab

Posted on: March 1, 2012

Last year I gave all my physics classes the first toy popper problem (1st popper lab).  I learned my lesson and only the honors group gets the inquiry version of the lab.  This year I followed on to that lab with a second popper lab when we got to impulse.  The non-honors class doesn’t get to play with poppers until they get to this lab.

I made it a lot easier for the non-honors group by explaining the steps to calculating the time and acceleration of the popper from just the height and the mass.  The honors group got to confirm their methods with the help of my written procedures and they got to test the accuracy of their predictions.  As a result, the lab works both as a stand-alone lab or as a follow-on from the previous lab.

About half of the students take calculus (with me) and I took the time to explain how the area under the impulse curve is really the impulse because it is the force (y-axis) multiplied by the time (x-axis).  While they wouldn’t have seen that on their own, I think they all understood that the change in momentum (impulse) = Ft.

So here is the latest incarnation of the lab for you to use and enjoy.

Determining the Pop Time of a Toy Popper – LabQuest


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