Physics & Astronomy

The following projects were created by UTeach PBI students following content guidelines of either the second or fifth 6th weeks of the Austin Independent School District's scope and sequence.

***Rube Goldberg Device:  Students will design a Rube Goldberg device (an unnecessarily complicated device that accomplishes a simple goal in imaginative ways) incorporating physics concepts learned during their four weeks of preparation. Students will create a drawing, written explanation, and presentation describing their device as well as the physics and calculations behind it.

***Mission:Colonize Mars:  The Mission: Colonize Mars is a 4-Week unit designed to lead students to delve into cutting-edge research and design a building suitable for the colonization of Mars. Students will work in teams and learn about circuits, making building blueprints, and integrate the two to build a working model of their building.

*** Roller coasters: 
Welcome to our PBI unit centered around the design of a roller coaster.  In this lesson the students will explore topics such as gravitational energy, kinetic energy, conservation of energy, derivatives, relationship between position, velocity, and acceleration, and more.  Throughout this lesson the students will be designing a roller coaster along with calculating the kinetic and potential energy at various points on their roller coasters.

*** Bridge Designing From A Physics Perspective:  This is a 4 week project based lesson plan. Students in your classroom will learn physics and trigonometry concepts necessary to plan, design, and implement a bridge design. The students will take on the role of young engineers, will be engaged in a classroom competition in groups for imaginary grant money, will be able to test their bridges to see whose can hold the most mass.

***Fire in the Hole!!! Using Projectile Motion as the overarching concept, students will choose one of three different projectile models and will construct one of their own. While constructing their projectile launchers, students will be investigating the mathematical concepts behind the physics to fully appreciate how their launchers work.

*** Pinball Wizards:  How can Physics be used to build a pinball machine?  In this project students will learn and implement physics concepts, such as forces, freebody diagrams, acceleration, potential and kinetic energy, which will allow them to build
a simple pinball machine. Students will build and present their simple pinball machine, with calculations used to determine the best angle for their pinball machine. 

*** Mars Rover:
The Mars Rover Recovery is set up such that the Mars Rover did not land in the precise spot the engineers had hoped.  In addition, during re-entry an essential data collection component broke off the Lander and, consequently, landed several kilometers away.  The students will design a path from the spot that the Rover landed to the data collection component and finally to the desired surface base which requires the least amount of time.  The final product will be a presentation in which the students will build and program a Lego Rover using the NXT Mindstorms kit to demonstrate the path the rover will take in a scaled model of the surface of Mars.  In addition, the students will be required to calculate the total travel time and time of acceleration.

*** How can we launch a projectile without using explosives?  Students learn about electromagnetism and the Lorentz forces used to make a rail gun