Level 1

Science, experimentation, and measurement

  • Mathematics is a language of science, but experiment is its heart
  • Making estimations: Fermi questions
  • Exploring big and small in the universe – learning about scientific notation, exponents, and physical units
  • Examining scientific method, reasoning, predictions, and hypotheses
  • Visiting a physics lab at UBC: meeting a professor and graduate students

Motion: Introduction to kinematics

  • Describing motion along a straight line: experimenting with a motion sensor (a sonic ranger)
  • Learning to ask questions: exploration of new vocabulary and applications
  • Connecting mathematical, graphical, and verbal descriptions of motion
  • Using PhET simulations to examine motion and to explore the laws governing it
  • A free fall laboratory: examining motion using force probes and motion sensors
  • Using video analysis to describe motion

The laws of motion: Introduction to dynamics

  • Forces: Examination of different contact forces, such as friction
  • The laws of motion: Newton’s laws and their applications
  • Examining the difference between weight, mass and apparent weight: An apparent wright lab using a digital scale sensor
  • Gravitational force and the laws of planetary motion
  • Exploring the sky with the Sky Map app and conducting the Lunar and solar eclipse lab

The laws of conservation

  • Introducing momentum and mechanical energy
  • Exploring momentum and energy conservation
  • Applying the laws of conservation to describe nature
  • Examining the difference between conservation laws of vector and scalar physical quantities
  • Experimentation with the laws of conservation using PhET simulations, force and motion sensors and video analysis

Fluids (liquids and gasses): A Eureka moment

  • Describing fluids: Examining mass, density, weight, pressure
  • Examination of buoyancy forces, including a PhET simulation lab
  • Conducting the famous Archimedes experiment and conducting a buoyancy lab: examining floating and sinking – from Galileo thermometer to the barges in the Burrard Inlet
  • Exploring siphons and building a Pythagorean cup
  • Examination of lift and Bernoulli’s principle – the physics of flight: We will invite a real pilot to explain how he uses physics in order to fly his airplane.

Click HERE to see some of the experiments we will be conducting. We will also visit a physics lab at UBC and meet scientists and science graduate students. Each unit will include problem solving – we will learn not only how to ask good science questions but also how to answer them. We will be using science equipment, as well as smartphone science apps, such as Physics Toolbox Suite, Sky Map, Science Journal, and PhET.