Masses and Springs

Have you ever stretched out a Slinkie so much it wouldn't go back to its original shape? Slinkies, like all springs, follow Hooke's Law. A simulation uses springs and masses to demonstrate kinetic, potential, and thermal energy. It allows scholars to adjust the spring stiffness, spring damping, and even gives them the ability to slow down time.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Provide springs and weights and then challenge class members to estimate the weight of an unknown mass
Classroom Considerations

  • Requires Flash 9 or later
  • Assumes prior knowledge of kinetic, potential, and thermal energy
Pros

  • Includes links to 48 teacher-created lesson plans that relate to the simulation ranging from elementary school through graduate school level
  • Translates into more than 50 languages
  • Allows the experiment to be performed using the gravitational pull of various planets
Cons

  • None