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 Suggested Teaching Activities

Simple Harmonic Motion

1. As the mass moves up and down, what energies are involved? How did the mass get the original amount of each kind of energy?

2. What relationship gives the amount of elastic energy in the spring?

3. How can you tell that this is a Simple Harmonic Motion?

4. Compare the amounts of each kind of energy (in a qualitative way) at the three extremes of motion - highest, middle and lowest point.

5. Construct a spreadsheet that contains the values of the following quantities:
 Constants: Mass, Spring Constant Variables: Position (height), Velocity, Time Calculated Values: Gravitational Potential Energy (Ug) Kinetic Energy (K) Elastic Potential Energy (Ue) Total Mechanical Energy (Et)

6. Record the position, velocity and time for at least 15 different positions during a single cycle of the motion.

7. Calculate Ug based on height above the lowest point of the motion.

8. Calculate Ue based on distance below the highest point of the motion.

9. Graph all four calculated values as functions of time.

10. What is your conclusion regarding the total mechanical energy during a cycle of motion?

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