Event Title

Improving student understanding of air resistance through a lab activity

Co-Author(s)

Austin Ward

Research Mentor(s)

Andrew Boudreaux

Description

The topic of air resistance has received relatively little attention in terms of research-based curriculum development. Even though students demonstrate an awareness of air resistance, they struggle to answer basic qualitative questions. For example, they sometimes believe that, because mass does not appear in the air resistance force formula, it does not need to be considered. This is not the case for an object falling at terminal velocity, where the air resistance force is balanced by the weight force. At Western Washington University, a 2-hour lab activity was created to strengthen student understanding of air resistance and terminal velocity principles. Preliminary data was collected during use in an introductory calculus-based physics course. The talk will describe the initial creation of the lab, an analysis of its effectiveness, as well as recent improvements to the lab activity.

Document Type

Event

Start Date

May 2018

End Date

May 2018

Location

SMATE, Science, Math, and Technology Education

Rights

Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 16th, 9:00 AM May 16th, 12:00 PM

Improving student understanding of air resistance through a lab activity

SMATE, Science, Math, and Technology Education

The topic of air resistance has received relatively little attention in terms of research-based curriculum development. Even though students demonstrate an awareness of air resistance, they struggle to answer basic qualitative questions. For example, they sometimes believe that, because mass does not appear in the air resistance force formula, it does not need to be considered. This is not the case for an object falling at terminal velocity, where the air resistance force is balanced by the weight force. At Western Washington University, a 2-hour lab activity was created to strengthen student understanding of air resistance and terminal velocity principles. Preliminary data was collected during use in an introductory calculus-based physics course. The talk will describe the initial creation of the lab, an analysis of its effectiveness, as well as recent improvements to the lab activity.