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Oh, G! High School Students Discover Gravitational Acceleration Using Ubiquitous Technology

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Thinking Outside the Box! Innovative Curriculum Exchange for K12 Engineering

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1117.1 - 22.1117.13



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Paper Authors

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Michael K. Swanbom Louisiana Tech University


David E. Hall Louisiana Tech University

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Dr. Hall is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Louisiana Tech University.

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Heath Tims Louisiana Tech University

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Oh, g! High School Students Discover Gravitational Acceleration Using Ubiquitous TechnologyAbstractDigital cameras became commercially available in the early 1990s and have since seen a rapidincrease in capability while exploding in popularity. Most digital cameras provide for thecollection of digital video at a rate of 30 frames per second, and a new series of inexpensivecameras that can collect at much higher frame rates are beginning to hit the market. The videocapabilities of these cameras provide an effective method of acquiring position versus time data._________ University has partnered with three high schools in our region to develop a project-based physics curriculum. One module of the curriculum involves an empirical analysis offalling body data to estimate the local gravitational acceleration. The project is designed so thathigh school students collect video footage of the object against the backdrop of a length scale.Students advance the video one frame at a time to associate position and time. This data isstudied using the basic definitions of velocity and acceleration and finite difference techniques todetermine velocity as a function of position, eventually leading to the gravitational acceleration(g). The same sort of analysis is used later in the course module for projectile motion, resultingin the progressive development of student competence in collecting and analyzing this data. Highspeed video is collected in a number of other cases and added to the curriculum materials toillustrate time dependent phenomena, such as material deformation, waves, pendulum motionand stick-slip friction. The paper provides clear examples of K-12 projects that utilize digitalcameras for data acquisition as well as assessment data regarding the experiences of high schoolteachers and students who utilize the technology.

Swanbom, M. K., & Hall, D. E., & Tims, H. (2011, June), Oh, G! High School Students Discover Gravitational Acceleration Using Ubiquitous Technology Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18790

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