November 11, 2016

This two-hour activity for high school physics was created to accompany the PhET simulation Masses & Springs. In the first lesson, students will use the simulation to explore how displacement of a spring is mathematically related to the load applied to it. In the next day's exploration, learners analyze the energy of a mass oscillating on a spring by observing distribution and transfer of kinetic, elastic potential, and gravitational potential energy. Materials include learning goals, explicit directions for use of the simulation, homework problems, and answer key. The spring motion simulation (which is required to complete this activity) is available from PhET at: Masses & Springs. This lesson is part of the PhET (Physics Education Technology Project), a large collection of free interactive science simulations.

- Grade 1
- Grade 2
- Grade 3
- Grade 4
- Grade 5
- Grade 6
- Grade 7
- Grade 8
- Grade 9
- Grade 10
- Grade 11
- Grade 12

Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems.

Recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities.

Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.

Use functions to model relationships between quantities.

Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally.

Interpret functions that arise in applications in terms of the context

For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a verbal description of the relationship.?

Calculate and interpret the average rate of change of a function (presented symbolically or as a table) over a specified interval. Estimate the rate of change from a graph.?

Analyze functions using different representations

Compare properties of two functions each represented in a different way (algebraically, graphically, numerically in tables, or by verbal descriptions).

Interpret expressions for functions in terms of the situation they model

Interpret the parameters in a linear or exponential function in terms of a context.