Days 41-45: Vector Addition Diagrams & Force Formulas

AP Physics 1: Vector Addition Diagrams

We wrapped up Newton’s 2nd Law with some problems combining vector addition diagrams and the 2nd law equation. I’ve been doing a much better job this year of combining vector addition diagrams with motion maps, which is helping students recognize the direction their net force needs to point.

Physics: Force Formulas

Students did labs to find formulas for the force of gravity and spring force. Most of the graphs had pretty good data and students did a nice job on the interpretation. On the force of gravity lab, several groups wrote their slope as 10 N / 1 kg to make it easier to give a “for every” statement during the board meeting, which was great. A lot of groups had some trouble “translating” the equation for their line of best fit into physics; a lot of it is getting tripped up by what a unit represents and separating that from what a variable represents. This is a challenge every year, and I need to keep thinking about how to help students make sense of the differences.

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