ELECTRONIC DATA CENTER - EDC
Gazebo near Vortex
May 4, May 11 and May 18, 2012
Students will be able to take an electronic data
collection unit on their favorite ride to record the forces they
feel. After riding they will be able to download the data and get
the graphs printed for further analysis. The data will also be
placed online so students can download it can work with it
further. Go to the physicsday.org website to find the data.
Here are the 1-2-3’s of the process.
- Students should be prepared with the worksheet called "Electronic Roller
Coaster" or "Electronic Drop Tower".
Each sheet has several items that need attention before,
during and after their ride.
- The student group will go to the EDC near Vortex.
They fill out a sheet that includes their name(s), email
address, teacher’s name, school and address. They indicate on
which ride they wish to take the data collection equipment.
- They give the filled-in sheet and an item of value [major
credit card or drivers license] to the people working at EDC.
- The workers set up an the equipment for the group so that it
will collect the data they wish. The accelerometer unit will
be tethered for everyone's safety and security.
- The students go to the ride, and when the ride begins (or
when they wish to begin data collection) they press the
[Start/Stop] button to initiate collection. Collection stops
automatically at the end of a specified time, or the button
can be pressed a second time to stop data collection.
- After the ride, they return the unit to the EDC where the
data will be downloaded and appropriate graphs printed for
them. Their security item will be returned, too.
Some additional notes:
- The readings are given in units of N/kg which is interpreted
as the force per unit mass (F/m) acting on them, and generally
will be in three orthogonal axes. If these are aligned with
the student’s body, they can be translated into Vertical,
Longitudinal and Lateral for interpretation. Knowing how the
unit is oriented will enable the workers to assist the
students in this important step.
- The readings are indications of forces the students felt. If
they experienced a force of 9.8 N/kg, that is
equivalent to the normal force of gravity. We could call the
force 1-g. Similarly, a reading of 19.6 N/kg would be termed
- The units also include an altimeter. The equipment has
enough resolution that you are able to see a ‘ride profile’
where their height at any time is given in meters.
- For students to get the most out of their experience, they
should identify key places in the ride and focus their
attention on them. What happened to them at those places? What
did the data show? Why did they feel the forces they felt
- If students are unable to hold the accelerometers so they
are Vertical, Longitudinal and Lateral, they can create a
vector sum graph (square root of the sum of the squares). This
will allow them to focus on where they felt the largest and
smallest overall forces during the ride.
We hope this service, which
was started initially by the Physics Club at Gunn High School,
will continue indefinitely. It is available for students from any
high school. Teachers are also welcome to try out the equipment,
which is on loan from Vernier Software and Technology.