Academic Challenge: Newtonian Physics

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Academic Challenge: Newtonian Physics


Big thanks to everyone who entered the inaugural Academic Challenge. These are projects and guides that will help teachers help their students understand Newtonian Physics. The next Academic Challenge will be Elementary Art, so sharpen those pencils and get out the good scissors.


Proud Winner of Sugru, a t-shirt, and 1 year of Pro

Notes: This was a great example of a difficult-to-illustrate concept brought to life with an easy demo. Plus, magnets are awesome.

Magic Monkey Shooter Trajectory Demonstration
To Enter:
Complete the challenge as specified above and share a link for a Guide or Step-By-Step Instructable in the comments below.
OPEN TO US, CANADA (excluding Quebec), UK and AUSTRALIA (official rules)

1) You MUST post either a Step-By-Step Instructable or Guide
2) All Step-By-Step Instructables MUST have at least 3 steps and full photo documentation. All Guides MUST include at least 4 projects and explicitly connect the projects listed to the academic standards below.
3) There is no limit to the number of Instructables you can post. However, no duplicate entries are allowed.
4) Projects that do not meet the criteria of the challenge will not be permitted to enter.
5) The judges reserve the right to disqualify anyone who cheats or engages in unsportsmanlike conduct.
6) To be clear, the project MUST be published after the challenge has started to be eligible.
(see the official rules here)

All entries must be published and posted in the comments below posted by 11:59pm February 7, 2012 PST/ 7:59am February 8, 2012 GMT.

All entries will be exclusively judged by Wilgubeast based on successful completion, originality, and overall execution of the Instructable. Winners will be announced on February 9, 2012.

Standards to Address:
Select from the academic standards listed below. Create a project that demonstrates, teaches, or reinforces the concept listed. Either create an original project OR collect at least four existing projects into a guide (and be sure to explain how each project connects to the standard you chose.) Remember: create something that a teacher would want to use in the classroom. That's how I'll be judging. You don't need to be a teacher to make something useful, just keep the target audience in mind.

Demonstrate how to solve problems that involve constant speed and average speed.

Demonstrate that when forces are balanced, no acceleration occurs; thus an object continues to move at a constant speed or stays at rest (Newton's first law).

Demonstrate how to apply the law F=ma to solve one-dimensional motion problems that involve constant forces (Newton's second law).

Demonstrate that when one object exerts a force always exerts a force of equal magnitude and in the opposite direction (Newton's third law).

Demonstrate the relationship between the universal law of gravitation and the effect of gravity on an object at the surface of Earth.

Demonstrate that applying a force to an object perpendicular to the direction of its motion causes the object to change direction but not speed (e.g., Earth's gravitational force causes a satellite in a circular orbit to change direction but not speed).

Demonstrate that circular motion requires the application of a constant force directed toward the center of the circle.

Demonstrate that Newton’s laws are not exact but provide very good approxima­tions unless an object is moving close to the speed of light or is small enough that quantum effects are important.

Demonstrate how to solve two-dimensional trajectory problems.


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