PGP Intro & Measurement

Here is the spot for approved members to upload an introductory lab or activity (things like measurement, uncertainty, nature of physics). Anyone (member or not) is able to download these files.

Adding Your File to PGP:

  1. Members must use the META link on the side to login to PrettyGoodPhysics.
Putting Files in the Right Spot:
  1. Go to the appropriate page (kinematics, forces etc..) and Select the “EDIT THIS ENTRY” link.
  2. The “Page Content” box that uses a wysiwyg visual editor contains the existing web-page content. Go to the bottom (or the most appropriate spot) of the existing text on the page.
  3. Use your [Enter] key to create a blank line. Be SURE your cursor is in this blank line at the bottom of the page
  1. The blue horizontal bar should have Upload selected.
  2. Use the grey highlighted BROWSE button (not the browse button in blue) to find the file on your computer.
  3. Fill in the Title & Description. This title is the name that will be posted on the website.
  4. Click the [Upload] button in the lower right.
  5. Check the “Page Content” box. Be CERTAIN that your cursor is in located in the blank line you created a moment ago.
  6. Select “Link to FILE
  7. Click on “Send to Editor.” You should see the file hot-linked in the Page Content area.
  8. Below the file name add:
    1. authors name (and email if willing)
    2. If the file is a lab, worksheet, or slideshow (like ppt).
    3. A brief description of the file.
  9. Click on the Save button to the right.

For more complete instructions regarding uploading files, go to the <about> page. Currently accepted filetypes: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, pdf, doc, ppt

– — – — –


1. Graphical Analysis to Calculate pi – This is an open-ended lab where students measure circumference and diameter of coins to determine pi. It is also available with a listed procedure at Determining pi. The file references “equipment at your desk” which makes the file flexible for a variety of settings. Posted by L Nelson of Charleston, SC

2. Introducing various Measurement Systems This file reflects teaching notes for an AP Physics course introducing measurement considerations for experimental design. The motivating question is “Are people taller when they stand up or lie down?” Comparison systems (ie meter stick) and Time-of-flight systems (ie sonic ranger) are demonstrated. Access the file for a discussion of the various techniques. Includes student questions. Posted by L Nelson of Charleston, SC

3.  Standard Deviation of Measurement  This file is a lab created by Professor Bob LaMontagne of Pacific College.  Students measure wooden matchsticks.  This lab analyzes uncertainty in measurement and the distribution of measured values.  Thanks to Bob LaMontagne.


One Response to “PGP Intro & Measurement”

  1. plulai Says:

    Some posts from the AP Physics Electronic Discussion Group (GREAT bunch of folks… Help me a TON).

    Demo / Discrepant event/ 1st Day Activity

    The table cloth trick for inertia
    The two balls referred to earlier are sad ball / happy ball
    Magnetic induction tube
    Magnetic or not? Magnetic Index Card (tape a paper clip behind it)
    Yardstick CoM (place two fingers anywhere underneath, bring them together smartly, always ends up at CoM
    Neil M

    How about the disappearing beaker trick? (Also called – Magic! I
    repaired a broken beaker!)
    Beakers have the same index of refraction as mineral oil – in a large
    beaker of mineral oil, hide an unbroken tiny beaker (I think 50 ml).
    Then take a broken piece of beaker, drop it in, pull out the whole one.
    Reyna P.

    This one came from Dean Baird:
    Get two dart-guns, each with a dart. Affix a lump of clay to one dart. Fire them simultaneously pointed down at the floor from as high a location as you are able. But first ask them: which one will hit the floor first?
    posted by Bill T

    This came from Paul Doherty:
    Again, from a high location: from one hand let a slinky hang, the other hand any solid object. Drop the both at the same time – but first ask: which one will hit first? (Falling faster than g). Try it again, and ask: how far down the slinky should I position the solid object so that they hit at the same time? Half way down?
    Posted by Bill T.

    After many years of trying a variety of approaches, last year I jumped the gun on the first day by having the students construct pop bottle water rockets. I sent an informational letter announcing the project in midsummer and requested an email reply. The students were required to launch their rockets at orientation day that precedes the first day of instruction.
    The informational letter included a rubric and instructed them to research designs on the internet. The email communications were informal and “broke the ice” of meeting on the first day. The mass launch is a high energy affair that attracts attention from fellow students and nearby football players. The students eagerly enter class the first day as experienced rocket scientists wanting to learn more about this exciting topic of Physics. Confidence replaced fear because they already had earned some credit points. We had already met online and on the launch pad, so there was no awkwardness of unfamiliarity. The rocket project involves research, teamwork, failure, adaptation, and success. I frequently referred to it throughout the year as an example of scientific research, and subsequent topics became more meaningful.
    Bill C

    Hey, I like this one in the first week, I learned it from Gary M.
    Core out one apple so that it is a cylinder without any skin.
    Take 1 almond sliver and stick it in the top.
    From a few feet away, it looks like a candle.
    Light the almond sliver – it burns just like a candle. Have them observe the change.
    Blow out the candle – observe change. (good time to discuss chemical and physical changes)
    Then, EAT the candle in one bite. This throws them. I never tell them what it was, although some guess.
    Have the kids make observations on various items or movements via writing. It gears them up for observations in labs … do it until the kids seem a little bored, then bust out the candle.
    Helpful hints – leaving the candle in a ziplock baggie with a little orange juice prevents the characteristic browning.
    Josh C.

    This trick actually works quite well with a banana. I use it for a
    halloween “magic” show and in dim light it looks just like a candle and
    you don’t have to carve. Just cut off a piece of banana the height of
    the supposed candle, the almond as the wick.
    Anita G

    I do the same thing with string cheese. It does not darken when exposed to the air, like banana and apple. It truly looks like a candle, with a slight waxy appearance.
    Jo Anne H.

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