# PhysicsQuest 2020

The aim of PhysicsQuest is to introduce students to the basic concepts of physics, through fun experiments that will sustain their interest in math and science.

PhysicsQuest experiment kits demonstrate the fun and relevance of science to middle school students as they learn more about the physical world.

On this year’s quest, the incredible life and work of NASA’s Katherine Johnson frames four activities based on force and motion. Students will learn the physics of falling, swinging, flinging, and the basics of orbital motion that Katherine Johnson used to help put the first Americans in space. Lessons and experiments include:

• How mass affects falling objects (both on Earth and the Moon)
• Changing variables to affect pendulum motion
• Projectile motion with desk-mounted slingshots
• Circular motion and centripetal force by swinging and launching wiffle-balls and string

In each activity you will find a teacher’s manual and a student manual with extension activities and resources to further your exploration.

## PhysicsQuest 2020 Activities: Lessons and Experiments

### Falling Physics

View video
If someone drops two objects from the same height, one heavy, one light, which one will hit the ground first? If you are like most people, you may instinctively pick the heavier object. And why wouldn’t you? After all, rocks fall faster than feathers.

Complete Teacher's Guide

### Swinging Science

View video
Most people enjoy going to playgrounds and playing on the swings. But did you know that the movement of swings — or pendulums — is one of the most studied problems in physics? Understanding their movement has helped people tell time, keep the beat or rhythm in music, and protect buildings against Earthquakes.

Complete Teacher's Guide

### Watch it Fly

View video
In activities one and two we looked at what happens when things fall, both straight down and as part of a pendulum. Now we’re going to look at what happens when something moves in two directions, down and out!

Complete Teacher's Guide

### Circular Motion

View video
We have already looked at motion of objects falling in one direction when you drop it, or in two directions as part of a pendulum. We also looked at what happens when objects fall while also moving in the horizontal direction. In this last activity, we are combining all that knowledge to see what happens when objects move in circular motion.

Complete Teacher's Guide

## More PhysicsQuest

Although kits for past PhysicsQuest projects are no longer available, your class can still complete the projects. You can download all of the written materials and use the provided materials list to collect everything else you need.

#### PhysicsQuest 2019

Students will discover Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu’s important contributions to physics, and complete four experiments to learn about: thermal energy and equilibrium, exothermic and endothermic reactions, thermal insulating properties, freezing and melting points.

#### Spectra's Energetic Escape (2018)

The students at Tesla Junior High are thrilled to hear that their favorite magazine, Fetch, has selected their school to be profiled in its upcoming issue. There’s just one twist—they aren’t profiling the whole school, just a select 16 students that will be competing in 24 hours of challenges to win tickets to see the latest, hottest boy band: the Free Radicals!

#### Spectra's Sonic Surprise (2017)

It’s bad enough that Lucy’s powers have mysteriously started to vanish—and goes from bad to worse when the school dance is cancelled because of a power outage! But something strange is happening to Kass, and it might just help the crew save the day.

#### Spectra's Current Crisis (2016)

Andy and Cathy Terminal, two slick hucksters, have come to Lucy's town pitching the latest and greatest in electromagnetic entertainment—the Magno-Go-Round! But at the same time, a mysterious man in a white suit is overheard talking about scamming the town for all it's worth. Something's amiss, and it's up to Lucy and her friends to find out what!

#### Spectra: High Intensity (2015)

Miss Alignment has broken out of jail and is on the loose hatching evil plans. Armed with a high IQ, an inferiority complex, and a secret lair, she will try yet again to control the town. Your students can help Spectra, her gang, and her new friend the Quantum Mechanic stop Miss Alignment’s focus on evil.

#### Spectra's Quantum Leap (2014)

Tesla Junior High is in ruins after H. Toueaux destroyed the gym during the big swim meet. The gang is scattered between 3 different middle schools as they wait for their school to be rebuilt. When Lucy’s mom takes their ancient mini-van to Black Body Repair, she gets a little more than she bargained for. Owner and chief mechanic Pauli Black gives the van more than new brakes, she gives it a quantum kick. With the gang so spread out, Spectra will have to use both her laser powers and the quantum additions to her mom’s mini-van to stop the Quantum Mechanic's super-powered machines.

#### Spectra: Turbulent Times (2013)

Follow Spectra in her next adventure. It’s wintertime, and the swim team of Tesla Junior high has gone to Pasadena, CA for their yearly winter training camp. The state championship meet is coming up, where they will face the unbeaten Edison Middle School Wizards of Menlo Park, IN. Coach Henri Toueaux will stop at nothing to secure a new trophy for his office and he doesn’t care who he leaves in his wake, including his team. Follow Spectra and her gang as they use her laser powers and their knowledge of fluid flow to stop H. Toueaux from crossing the line from motivating coach to evil villain.

#### Spectra Heats Up! (2011)

Lucinda Hene began life as the most ordinary of children. She did fairly well in school and was on the swim team but she longed to stand out. Child of brilliant laser scientists, Lucinda dreamed of being more than normal, of being extraordinary. Then one day it happened. She felt something inside her begin to change. She changed from normal Lucinda Hene to the powerful Spectra, a super hero with the powers of a laser. To unlock the mystery of her past and her powers Spectra must defeat the most evil of super villains, the beautiful yet deadly Miss Alignment.

#### Spectra's Force (2010)

PhysicsQuest is a middle school competition that consists of four physical science experiments centered on a mystery. The experiments are designed to be done by small groups in a classroom or after school setting. Each of the experiments gives students a clue that they need to solve the mystery. Classes can submit their answers online and be entered into a random drawing for prizes. PhysicsQuest kits are provided free to registered classrooms.

#### Spectra: The Original Laser Superhero & Spectra's Power (2009)

Lucinda Hene began life as the most ordinary of children. She did fairly well in school and was on the swim team but she longed to stand out. Child of brilliant laser scientists, Lucinda dreamed of being more than normal, of being extraordinary. Then one day it happened. She felt something inside her begin to change. She changed from normal Lucinda Hene to the powerful Spectra, a super hero with the powers of a laser. To unlock the mystery of her past and her powers Spectra must defeat the most evil of super villains, the beautiful yet deadly Miss Alignment.

#### Nikola Tesla and the Electric Fair (2008)

Born in 1856 in Smiljan Croatia, Nikola Tesla was a true genius. A close friend of Mark Twain and bitter rival of Thomas Edison, he invented such things as the remote control and the AC generator. In 1893 he was charged with lighting the Chicago Worlds Fair, the first electric fair in the world, nicknamed The White City.

#### Marie Curie's Floating Classes (2007)

Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist who received two Nobel Prizes. She had to fight hard to become a scientist because she was a Polish female growing up in Russian-controlled Warsaw – some of her classes had to constantly change locations to avoid being detected by the police.

#### Ben Franklin's Secret Message (2006)

We all know Benjamin Franklin as an accomplished inventor, scientist, and statesmen, but did you know he was one of America’s first spies? Travel back to 1778 with PhysicsQuest to decipher a secret message from Ben.

#### The Search for Einstein's Hidden Treasure (2005)

The Search for Einstein's Hidden Treasure follows Albert Einstein's wanderings along grounds of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, where he spent the last 23 years of his life.