Physics Project

Mimi Thai, Aurelia Acquati, Lexi Taylor, Jasson Mantilla
       Mr. O'Neill
       Physics Period 2
       7 January 2008


A. Purpose
The purpose of our project is to turn on a light bulb using various energy transfers. The energy transfers that we are going to use in this lab are potential energy, kinetic energy, and finally electrical energy. Our overall goal is to see our light bulb light up by the use of electrical energy

B. Description of Model
In our Rube Goldberg apparatus, we start out with dominoes falling on each other (kinetic energy); next the dominoes hit our bell, causing the bell to make a sound (PE to KE). After that, the bell swings up and hits the ball which is located at the top of our four stacked dominoes (PE to KE), then our ball rolls off the dominoes and hits the mousetrap (PE to KE). Then, the mousetrap swings up, snaps and stops the ball, turning our light on by metal touching metal (electrical energy). Our overall goal is to turn on the light bulb.
To help us with brainstorming for our ideas on our Rube Goldberg assignments, we used the Rube Goldberg Machine Project packet that was handed out to everyone in class. We also did a research on our own time to investigate simple machines, and Rube Goldberg's various experiments so we could better understand the task that we were trying to accomplish.

C. Theoretical Background
Most of our energy transformations are going from kinetic to potential energy, or vice versa. When the dominoes are falling down, they start with PE and go to KE. Then when the last domino hits the bell, it transfers from PE to KE. After the bell swings and hits the ball, energy transfers from PE to KE. When the ball rolls down into the mousetrap, the energy just stays kinetic. When the mousetrap turns on the light, electrical energy is introduced. We will most likely keep track of these energy changes in a bullet point list. ??

D. Data Section
We made various changes to our apparatus so the procedure would run more smoothly, and so we would increase our rate of accuracy.
• Light switch => just using the metal wires
• Cards => mousetrap
• Ramp => 4 dominoes
• Ramp start => flat surface start
• No switch => just wires touching the mousetrap
The changes stated above eliminate hassle in the apparatus and allowed us to run through the process easier.

E. discussion of Results
The final outcome of our project was successful with some minor changes done to our project. We had to change the light switch that was suppose to flick up and turn the light on to just taking out the switch completely and just letting the metal wire connect and touch with the mouse trap which is metal as well therefore turning on the light just as well as a flicker. We had to change this because as we were testing out our final project everything was working but the flicker was too stiff for the force of the mousetrap to flick it upwards towards the on. The repeated results turned out in our favor which is to say it worked as we planned with the changes of the light switch. The energy loss that might have occurred causing us to have to take out the light switch is the long metal stick that held the mousetrap down so it did not snap could have taken some force away from the mousetrap itself causing less force for the mousetrap to flick the light switch.

F. Reflection
The process that we took into completing this project was we first brainstormed our ideas and wrote everything we thought of down on paper and then later polishing our ideas and making them work. In the process of polishing our ideas we altered some for better results in our final conclusion. The challenges that we faced during the project was first the dominoes would not move the bell therefore we simple just added more dominoes. The second challenge that we faced during the project was the most difficult one and that would be the light switch not flicking upwards to turn the light bulb on. We liked that we were able to interact with what we were doing and also work as a group outside of class. We would suggest that you use more dominoes to gain more force to push the bell, a lighter bell, and a less stiff light switch to make the project a little easier. In the future students could try and light up a whole room rather than just a light bulb to make it more meaningful to them. Over all in the project we learned how to do specific energy changes. We also learned how to complete a simple task such as turning on a light bulb with a complex procedure. The project was in general was very organized because we all brought our parts and putting it together was successful.

Working as a Group :)

Jasson and Lexi, taken by Mimi, where's Aurelia?

Jasson, Lexi, and Aurelia, taken by Mimi