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Physics Department

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

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Physics 121 Weeks 7 & 8



Using a loop-the-loop you can discuss circular motion, energy conservation, and pose many engaging and intricate questions to your students.  For example, what happens to the normal force at the top of the circle if the ball barely makes it around?

Galileo's Pendulum

This demonstration is a great visual for discussing energy conservation. Ask your students what they believe will happen when the pendulum strikes the peg, and then show how energy conservation holds the secret! 

Ball Oscillates on Ramps

Two ramps with differing angles are connected so that a ball can roll back and forth. While theoretical energy conservation tells us it should indefinitely oscillate, why doesn't it? This demonstration is a great way to introduce thermal energy and work due to friction!

Ballistic Pendulum

When a steel projectile is shot into a "block," you can gather quantitative data to engage your students in momentum and energy conservation.

Modified Brachistochrone Tracks

Four balls follow four different paths. Show that the final velocities are the same by launching the balls into a box on the floor, or allowing the balls to race across the floor. 
** Rotational Kinetic Energy is not constant due to varying width on side rails.***


This classic toy is a great way to provide visual examples of how rotational kinetic energy can influence a system.

Pile Driver

Use the Gravitational Potential Energy of the sledge to either smash aluminum cans or drive nails into wood by doing work. This is a great demonstration to use comparative ratios in order to predict the outcome of an unknown situation.


Springs with various spring constants can be a great demonstration when discussing elastic potential energy.

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