Physics+C — Simple Harmonic Motion: Mass on a Spring

Posted June 13, 2024 by bperret

Original author

Victor Mateas and Irene Lee

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This unit reviews simple harmonic motion through experiments with a NetLogo model that simulates a horizontal mass-spring system. The model allows students to displace a mass that is attached to a horizontal spring and observe the motion of the mass. The model also allows students to measure the mass’s position, velocity, kinetic, and potential energy, as well as the observed period and frequency of the periodic motion. Students will learn how computer models are built and used as testbeds to run simulation experiments. They will also explore practices of professional practitioners in computational physics.

Students will interpret the code in the model and then compare it with what they know about those processes in the natural world. They will argue from evidence using the Claims, Evidence, Reasoning (CER) framework to assess the validity of the model. Finally, students will modify the model to match their understanding of processes and/or answer new questions.

Resources available:

  • Student materials in Google Documents
  • Teacher guide in PDF with pacing guide and standards
  • Teacher workbook with answer keys
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