Student Exploration: Air Track
Vocabulary: air track, approach velocity, conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, elasticity, kinetic energy, momentum, separation velocity, velocity
Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.)
Imagine going to a bowling alley with a bowling ball and a ping pong ball.
Why is a bowling ball better for knocking down pins than a ping pong ball? A bowling ball is much bigger than a ping pong ball.
Which do you think would knock down more pins, a bowling ball moving 10 meters per second or a bowling ball moving 10 centimeters per second?
What two factors seem to most affect the amount of damage that occurs in a collision?
An air track is a device that helps scientists study motion. Air comes out of holes in the track, allowing the gliders to move with minimal friction.
On the Air Track Gizmo™, click Play () to view a collision between the two gliders.
What do you see?
Click Reset (). The velocity (v) of an object describes its speed and direction. The velocity of each glider is indicated next to the v1 and v2 sliders. Click Play, and then click Pause () just before the collision.
What is the velocity of Glider 1?
In which direction does Glider 1
What is the velocity of Glider 2?
In which direction does Glider 2
Get the Gizmo ready:
Question: How does an object’s momentum change when it collides with another object?
Explore: The Gizmo allows you to adjust the mass and initial velocity of each glider. Set up each of the following scenarios, and describe what happens when the gliders collide.
The gliders have the same mass but different velocities.