Intro to Physics

Produced by Carolyn Staudt, Wednesday February 10th, 2016

Note: this VideoPaper was created by a teacher in the ITSI project in an earlier version of the VideoPaper Builder software. This is a demonstration only.


The students being shown in the video are from a Physics 1 class, juniors and seniors with little or no experience. The lab we are doing is an introduction to forces at work on inclined planes.

We have already talked about what forces are, and are now looking at how the variables of plane angle, and mass of object being moved, will affect the parallel force.

School Information

Olathe East High School is a suburban high school located in Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. The school is grades 10 – 12 with an enrollment of approximately 1600 students.


The ITSI-SU project at the Concord Consortium supported the development of this demonstration ideoPaper.

The first task was getting the students logged on to the ITSI site for the first time. They used their student ID’s and created a new password for ITSI.

Once the students got the activity started, it was very important to explain to them how to adjust the scaling for their graphs.

Those students with more computer background seemed to have very little trouble with this, while others were continually having to make adjustments.

After reading a short information section, the students were asked to draw the forces that would be at work on a cart rolling on an inclined plane.

The students then followed the directions from the ITSI created lab to collect data where they varied the angle of the inclined plane, and the mass of the Hall’s carriage.

One problem that we had was that the probes did not always work correctly through the portal. We discovered that this was a problem between the portal and the Vernier interface. So at times it was necessary for the students to recalibrate the sensor to get reliable data.

When the students had completed the first part of the lab they had a graph which compared the weight of the cart alone, to the parallel force at three different angles. From this graph they could see how changing the angle of the inclined plane would change the force parallel acting upon the Hall’s carriage.

For this lab I was more concerned that the kids get a feel for the relationships than with specific mathematical data. It would be relatively easy to have them get specific data points from their graphs to do some calculations if that was what you wished to do.


In conclusion, the lab was very effective in helping the students to visualize the relationships between angle of inclined plane, mass of carriage, and force parallel.

The first class to run this activity had many problems that resulted from the poor programming on our local laptops, which made it so that some groups worked just fine, while others spent the majority of the period just getting technical issues corrected. They then had trouble remembering what it was they were supposed to be looking for. As one of my colleagues said, “They couldn’t see the force for the trees!”

We also came up with a suggestion for Scott to allow students to alter a single entry of data, without affecting all of the others. A correction he quickly handled, so that the current version is even better than the original.


When the technology works, the probes provide the students with wonderful opportunities for investigative activities. They remain actively engaged throughout the lesson, and the probes help to resolve most of the errors that come from poor data collection.

The only draw back is finding the time to create the lessons for the using of the probes. ITSI does help quite a bit by having many lessons already on-line, though you will more than likely have to alter them to fit your curriculum.