Hands On Physics


Here is where you get to show your creativity. Extensions are suggested investigations that build on the ideas of the core project. Each group should pick one extension or make up one. There are few instructions for extensions, mostly suggestions to help you get started. It's up to you to define the question, decide on the experiment, collect data, analyze your results, and communicate what you have found. If your experiment is very interesting, it can be published on the Web.

Student Defined Extensions:

You do not have to do one of the suggested extensions. Invent your own experiment. Decide on your experiment and measurements. Before you begin experimenting, tell your instructor what you plan. For more ideas, look on the Web for extensions other students have contributed.

Use the Design Guide to help you with developing an extension; framing the question, designing the research, and reporting the results of the study.

Ready-made Extensions:

If you do not want to design your own, several extensions you might pursue are listed below:

Be Safe

In any experiment you do, always think carefully about safety. Think about what might go wrong and how that can be avoided. One person in the group might be given the task of being a safety officer and asked to always think about safety. Even if you do this, everyone should be aware of hazards all the time. "Safety is everyone's business."


Keep a journal as scientists do, even when messing around. Record all your questions and observations in a bound notebook. Don't erase, just cross out errors. Write enough so someone else could reproduce your experiments. Diagrams can save lots of words and help make your ideas clear. If you make measurements, record your data, with units. Tables are useful for repeated similar measurements. To make the logic of any calcuations clear, first record the formula you used, then show the numbers used to evaluate the formula, and finally your answer. With all this thought and record keeping, a final report to your class will be quite easy to put together.

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