Today in physics 11 I tried a new lab using our motion and force sensors, carts and tracks. The lab idea is from New Visions and I believe that the script that I was working from was written by Kelly O’Shea and Mark Schober. I was pretty excited to give it a try because I’ve always just told my students that the area under a force-distance graph is work. With this lab, students develop the idea from direct evidence.
Something just dawned on me and I wanted to write it down before I forget. Maybe this is already obvious to many people but it was a new realization for myself. In physics I stress that Work is a transfer of energy in or out of a system. I don’t specifically invoke the “Work-Energy” theorem, as I really try to stress that work can be found by analyzing the transfers of energy.