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AP Physics I students complete online torque lab

Finding the weight of mystery objects, students learn new skills
The torque lab required students to test different weights on a seesaw. Placing mystery boxes on one side and a brick on the other, they were able to determine the weight of the mystery box. “I found the lab helped me figure out the torque formulas,” junior Franchesca Ramirez said. “After working on this assignment I feel like I’m actually prepared for any tests on it.”
Screenshot By: PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado, Boulder

Torque is a linear force’s rotational equivalent. Working to understand this concept, students in AP Physics I are completing an online lab assignment. 

“I feel that a lab is a good way to learn,” junior Julianna Sangalang said. “It’s a different way to figure something out for yourself rather than just getting a worksheet or an AP Classroom assignment.”

In order to complete this lab, students used a digital seesaw, placing a set weight on one side and a mystery weight on the other. Moving the boxes until the seesaw was balanced, students then found the mass of the mystery boxes by calculating torque.

“I wanted to give students the opportunity to learn the material in a unique way,” AP Physics I and II teacher Patrick Waddington said. “I also wanted to allow for creativity to express their findings.”

Students have been focusing on torque for the majority of April and May. They are making sure to review topics such as simple harmonic motion, energy and momentum for the upcoming AP exam. 

“I am nervous for the AP Exam but I feel prepared so far,” Sangalang said. “I think that it’s probably going to be hard but we have spent all year on this, so I think I can do it and do it fine. Plus, I heard the grading curve is pretty generous.”

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