Physics Day 3 Statics and Equilibrium

Today we explored the ideas of net force, statics, equilibrium and normal force.We started by drawing free body diagrams of a hamster at rest on a table top.

From there we examined a hamster at rest on an inclined plane.

Thinking about an object at rest against a vertical surface we discussed a horizontal normal force on a bar of soap.

We finished by starting a brief experiment trying to measure both the mass and the weight of a set of mysterious objects.  Students measured weight using a variety of spring scales and force probes.  They measured mass using a traditional Greek balance!  A debate ensued among the Ravenclaws as to why the balance was measuring mass and not weight.  Obviously gravity was involved.  In fact, this exact point was made in the Physics Teacher magazine last year criticizing this experiment as pure stupidity and misleading by a great physicist.  However, the young Ravenclaw pointed out that on Mars the balance would give the same reading, but the spring scale would give a different reading!  5 points to Ravenclaw for great insight!

Another great use of LEGOS!