Discovering Projectile Motion: From Galileo to the i3D Experience

What inspired Galileo’s interest in motion? How did his inquiries lead to an understanding of some of the most fundamental concepts in modern physics? And why is the study of science so boring to many of today’s students? The answers to these questions were fundamental to the development of this unit. Galileo’s inspiration was a desire to know the unknown. His inquiries gave us the basis for understanding both one-dimensional and two-dimensional motion. And science is boring to students today because we give them the answers and don’t let them discover the questions. This unit consists of a series of traditional physics experiments presented in a very non-traditional way. Rather than giving students a very well-defined lab (“do three trials each with masses of 100g, 200g, and 300g”), they are presented with an idea and are asked to formulate a means to discover its implications. Interactive 3D (i3D) technology is specifically incorporated into some lessons, but the unit may be taught using other technologies.

Author: Fred Morris

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