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Physics lab kit help!

physics lab hands-on

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#1 jennthmg

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:35 AM

I'm switching gears from 2 creative writing/music/history loving girls in highschool --- to 2 very science/math minded boys in middle school. The boys have been along for the ride, but now I need to focus on their strengths -- which are NOT mine!

We had a GREAT year last year with Chemistry: RS4K 1, Ellen McHenry's The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe joining their sisters Quality Science Lab Chem kit. This year has been fastastic doing Prentice Hall's Earth Sci, videos & living books & many Astronomy living books. Honestly, they're upset that I don't have more hands-on for Weather & Astronomy.

I need help for physics from Prentice Hall Physical Science: Concepts in Action. The boys will be 8th & 6th grades. I need more hands-on lab stuff than the text provides and it has to be things the boys can do mostly themselves (I'm a science failure- when I taught the girls physics at this age, the car kept falling off the side of the inclined board and after 35 minutes I gave up. I could not make 1 in 3 RS4K physics labs work with the girls.)
But the boys won't be satisfied with anything too easy or baby-ish --- they eat this stuff up with a spoon. I looked at QSL's physics kit and $250 seems like alot when we won't be doing the math that goes with physics.

Suggestions?

Jenn in IN

#2 Nscribe

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:48 AM

We found the Lab Manual for Prentice Hall Conceptual Physics (ISBN 0-13-054257-1) to be great fun in middle school. This manual is written to accompany the Hewitt high school text. If you want to ease yourself into Physics, it can be useful as well. For high school we are using his other 9th edition.

The nice thing about his high school book and the lab book in middle school is they can be found pretty cheap. The lab book is packed with neat labs that do not require extraordinary equipment. The bits of lab stuff you may need tend to be useful in all the sciences labs. We were very lucky to have a local offering in middle school that allowed Dd to be in a well equipped lab with a great teacher (wish he did high school....) but we still enjoyed projects from the high school Hewitt stuff.

#3 Heathermomster

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 05:59 PM

We found the Lab Manual for Prentice Hall Conceptual Physics (ISBN 0-13-054257-1) to be great fun in middle school. This manual is written to accompany the Hewitt high school text. If you want to ease yourself into Physics, it can be useful as well. For high school we are using his other 9th edition.

The nice thing about his high school book and the lab book in middle school is they can be found pretty cheap. The lab book is packed with neat labs that do not require extraordinary equipment. The bits of lab stuff you may need tend to be useful in all the sciences labs. We were very lucky to have a local offering in middle school that allowed Dd to be in a well equipped lab with a great teacher (wish he did high school....) but we still enjoyed projects from the high school Hewitt stuff.


I'm very confused about Hewitt's books. I've seen Conceptual Physical Science, Conceptual Physics, and Conceptual Physical Science Explorations. I can't figure out which text is the most appropriate for my rising 8th grader. Which book did you use alongside the lab manual that you mentioned? Thank-you.

#4 Nscribe

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:38 PM

The text that matches with that lab book is Paul Hewitt's High School Conceptual Physics: one ISBN would be 0-13-166301-1. Whether the text would work for a middle schooler would depend on where they are mathwise. If they were doing Alg 1 or had finished they would likely be ok. (Dd didn't formally use the text because she had a teacher who provided all the materials to the kids. Because she was interested and handled the math, he gave me a heads up about Conceptual Physics and the lab manual for high school to do more with her).

(He also has a college version of Conceptual Physics, I think your middle link may be the 10th edition of that. You would probably not want that for middle schooler)

I have never had my hands on the Physical Science book with his name on it. So, I can't comment on it.

#5 MyThreeSons

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:54 AM

You could also sprinkle in some of these virtual labs:

http://phet.colorado...ategory/physics

Some of the accompanying teachers' materials are written for middle schoolers.

#6 Heathermomster

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:49 AM

For labs, maybe look at Exploration Education Science. You can purchase a lab kit and notebook without the curriculum and combine with your book.

#7 Momto2Ns

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:07 PM

I used the lab manual for Concepts in Action. There are 3-5 labs for most chapters, so you can pick and choose the ones that work for you. Most of the physics labs were easy to do at home and required very little specialized equipment. Mostly just stuff you find around the house (at least around our house :) )

#8 Lori D.

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

Normally I'm right there with NScribe ;), but in this case, we had very different experiences (or else I had a very different version of the lab book) .... But we ended up dropping the lab book designed to go with the high school version of Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics precisely *because* it seemed like experiment after experiment was not do-able as they called for expensive, specialized classroom lab equipment and was very math calculation-based. We ended up going with TOPS units and some kits from Home Science Tools.

Kits we've used over the years on physics topics that don't require an adult, and *worked* included:
- Educational Insights Adventures in Science Kit: Electricity (gr. 3-8)
- Educational Insights Adventures in Science Kit: Light and Color (gr. 3-8)
- TOPS Electricity (gr. 3-8), or possibly the gr. 8-12 one
- TOPS #42 Focus Pocus (lens and pinholes) (gr. 5-10)
- TOPS #9 Floating & Sinking (gr. 7-12)
- TOPS #15 Heat (gr. 8-12)
- Physics Introduction Kit (gr. 8+)

For TOPS kits, definitely buy the supplies or supply kits from the website as well and save a lot of effort of searching for items. TOPS kits that did NOT work well (i.e., not reproducible by us, or did not "get" what it was trying to show) include TOPS Light and TOPS Sound.

And here's a list of links to physics experiments for middle schoolers: The Science Spot.

BEST of luck in finding what fits for your family! Warmest regards, Lori D.

#9 jennthmg

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:32 AM

Oh, Lori, that's just what I was hoping for - what really *works* as opposed to what doesn't.

THANKYOU!!!!!!!

#10 Tamarind

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:15 AM

Hometrainingtools dot com has several physics kits that we used for labs.



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