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#653. Investigating Forces Mini-labs

Science, level: Middle
Posted Fri Oct 9 08:32:36 PDT 1998 by kayenta (lgrawet@hotmail.com).
Grand County Middle School, Moab Utah
Materials Required: common classroom items
Activity Time: 15-20 minutes per lab
Concepts Taught: Force, Mtion and Energy

This activity was designed for a science classroom with virtually no lab facilities, and a
very tight budget. I set the labs up on the week-end and allow half an hour to forty minutes each
day, during the week for students to run their investigations. This allows for review and closure
time at the end of the period.
Students are put into six groups and each group rotates to a different table (lab). For
ease of facilitating the lab, all supplies and materials are placed in boxes that students retrieve
from the supply area at the beginning of the period and return at the end of the period.
The labs cover bouyant forces; magnetical force; electrical force (static); gravitational
force; elastic force; and frictional force.
Students need to be able to identify the AGENT: object that is having a noticable effect
on another object; RECEIVER: object getting the force; and EFFECT: the effect of the force or
what happens when the agent acts on the receiver.
Each lab has a Lab Sheet that gives the materials needed, directions for completing the
investigation, and questions for students to answer.

STATION #1
Materials:
bucket of water
beaker or cup

What to do:
1. Push the empty beaker or cup slowly into the bucket of water. Keep the open end of the beaker
or cup facing up.
2. Then, submerge the beaker of cup. Let the water fill the beaker or cup.
3. Remove the beaker or cup from the water.

Label as Station #1
A) Identify the agent
C) Indentify the effect
D) What forces did you feel at each step?
E) Which type of force does this station demonstrate?

STATION #2
Materials:
paper
beaker/cup
5 paper clips
magnet

What to do:
1. Place the paper clips on the paper and place the beaker/cup, upside-down on top of the paper
clips.

2. Bring the magnet near the beaker/cup until you can attract one or more clips.
(if one person does not succede, allow others to try or brainstorm different ways to do this)
3. Try to lift the paper clip(s) to the top of the beaker/cup.
4. Still hold the clips at the top of the cup, then have someone lift the cup off of the paper.

A) Identify the agent
C) Indentify the effect
D0 What type of force(s) does this station demonstrate?

STATION #3
Materials
plastic bag
wool sock
scissors
ruler

What to do:
1. Cut two one inch wide strips from the bag. The strips need to be at least 12 inches long.
2. With one hand, hold up the strips. Observe thema s they hang.
3. Now rub the wool sock on both sides of the strips. Allow the strips to hang freely again.
Observe and forces at work.
4. Bring one of the strips near the table. Observe what happens.
5. Throw your stips in the trash when you are done.

A) Indentify the agent
C) Indentify the effect
D) What happened at steps 3 and 4?
E) What type of force(s) does this station demonstrate?

STATION #4
Materials:
sheets of paper

What to do:
1. One at a time, drop a piece of flat paper; a paper folded into fourths; and a paper that has been
crumpled into a ball.
2. Drop any two at a time, from the same height.
3. Drop all three at a time, fromt he same height.

A) Indentify the agent
C) Indentify the effect
D) Which paper fell the slowest? Why?
E) What type of forces doe this station demonstrate?

STATION #5
materials:
3 text books
ramp (board or thin book)
bottle or cylinder
newspaper
towel

What to do: (do this on the floor)
1. Set up a ramp that is the height of three books.
2. Place the newspaper under the lower end of the ramp so that it extends beyone the ramp.
3. Roll the bottle or cylinder down the ramp. Measure how far it goes.
4. Repeat the demonstration, except place the towel under the ramp, instead of the newspaper.

A) Indentify the agent
C) Indentify the effect
D) record and label the measurements
E) What type of force(s) did this station demonstrate?

STATION #6
Materials:
rubber band
book with string around it
book without string around it
paper clip
meter stick

What to do:
1. Attach the rubber band to the paper clip.
2. Attach the paper clip to the string around the book
3. Place the book on the table so that when stretched, the end of the rubber band is off of the
edge of the table.
4. Slowly pull the end of the rubber band until the book starts to move.
(be sure to keep the rubber band level with the book)
5. Measure in cm, the length of the rubber band when the book began to move.
6. Place another book on top of the book with the string and repeat steps 3, 4, and 5.