Department Contact Information

Physics Department

Location: 180-204
Phone: (805) 756-2448
Fax: (805) 756-2435
Chair: Karl Saunders

Support Physics

Website Update

Physics 121 Weeks 1 & 2


Constant Velocity Cars

Battery powered cars are used to investigate constant velocity behavior through motion maps, graphical analysis, or systems of equations. Please allow wheels to spin freely in order to not damage the gearing.

1-D Motion Using Carts and Track

A low friction cart can be placed on the horizontal track to model constant velocity motion (within reason) or rolled down the ramp when angled for uniform acceleration. All demos can be combined with a Vernier motion detector to generate real time graphs.

Graph Matching with Motion Detectors

Using interactive Vernier Motion Detectors, your students can create and analyze real-time graphs of their motion as well as challenge each other to recreate the motion of their peers.

Constant Velocity Bubble

Using a ratio between distance and time, students can determine the velocity of a rising bubble in differing viscous fluids. “O-rings” can be used to help mark start and stop locations.

Galileo's Drop

Just like Galileo, simultaneously drop two different masses (into a padded box). Show students that the free fall time is equal by placing the same masses into carts on an inclined plane and rolling them into the padded box. 

Advanced Galileo's Drop

Ultimately, Galileo's classic experiment helped show that air resistance causes object's to appear to fall at differing rates. By using a text book and paper, you can create multiple situations and engage your students through a critical thinking exercise which supports his findings.

Ball Transfers to Cup (Faster than "g" Acceleration)

While this demonstration can't be explained until your students know more concepts, it can be a great brain teaser to hook your students and get them thinking about physics. 

Free Fall is Uniform Acceleration

Use a Vernier motion detector to generate graphs for a fan cart or cart on a ramp undergoing uniform acceleration, then throw or drop a ball above the detector to prove that free fall is just a special example of uniform acceleration.
                                                  **CAUTION** Do not let any object collide with the motion detector.

Free Fall Ball

After introducing the free fall kinematics equations, this ball can be used to engage your students in a discussion about reaction time, uncertainty, and experimental vs theoretical physics. Why is it so difficult to calculate height using free fall time when they time it, versus what this device gives you.

Magnetic Vectors

Meter sticks have been cut into various sized vectors which have a magnetic strip. These can easily attach to your whiteboards to represent various vector quantities. (No video available)

Cartesian Coordinate System

Use the wireframe to show x,y,and z axes. (No video available)


Imperial vs Metric SI Units 

LENGTH: Meter stick vs Yardstick
MASS vs WEIGHT: 1 lb weight vs 1 kg mass (Bars and Masses)
VOLUME: 1L and 1Qt containers, along with 1 cubic liter.


Related Content