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VIP’s mission is to foster communication among teachers of
physics and physical science as well as to provide unique learning experiences for
teachers and their students.

Click here to go to the main page for the Virginia Instructors of Physics

Next Meeting September 23, 2000, at the Virginia Science Museum
2500 West Broad Street, Richmond Virginia

Click here for directions

Click here to download this entire newsletter as an Acrobat Reader file.

Upcoming Meetings!!!!

Sept. 23rd at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond

9:00 - 9:30


9:30 - 12:00

Behind the scenes at SMV, & other stuff!

12:00 - 1:00

Lunch (You are on your own).

1:00 - 3:00

Planning VAST VIP presentations????

IMax movie included! Museum & Movie Free!


November 10th-11th VIP at VAST in Roanoke

VIP will be hosting two sessions this year at the Virginia Association of Science Teachers meeting this fall. We will hold a two hour "meeting" session where we will have our normal sharing of demos, labs, etc. The past couple of years this has been very well attended - standing room only! At our spring meeting it was suggested and decided that we should offer a second session at VAST. This will be a "table top Physics" presentation. Offered science fair style with presenters at each table. I don't have the times for when these meet yet. We still need to do a significant amount of planning and we need PRESENTERS!! Volunteer now & avoid the rush! VAST should be exciting, I hear from Dr. John Kowalski all presentation rooms are full and presenters are being turned away.


If you will be attending the Sept. 23rd meeting, RSVP as soon as possible. Include your name & school or title. If you'd like to present at VAST, please let me know which format you would like and provide a little detail. My e-mail, phone & school address are:


Andy Jackson
Harrisonburg High School Science Dept
395 South High Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22801 or

As always for VIP, there are no fees and there are no dues. What makes the group succesful are the contributions of its members, not financially but intelectually. Please consider sending me your favorite labs, demos, or lessons to include in the next newsletter. Also strongly consider presenting at VAST this November.


Directions - a vector excercise

The Science Museum of Virginia is located in mid-town Richmond, Virginia, at 2500 West Broad Street in the historic Broad Street Station designed by renowned architect John Russell Pope. The Science Museum of Virginia is easily reached via Interstate 95 and Interstate 64.

From the north or west:

  • Take I-95 south or I-64 east to Richmond (I-95 and I-64 run together through Richmond).
  • From I-95, take the Boulevard exit (# 78), bear right onto Boulevard. Take Boulevard to West Broad Street (US 250) (4th traffic light).
  • Turn left onto West Broad Street and go two blocks. The Science Museum is on your left.

From the south or east:

  • Take I-95 north or I-64 West to Richmond (I-95 and I-64 run together through Richmond).
  • From I-95, take the Boulevard exit (# 78) and bear left onto Hermitage Rd. Take Hermitage south for 1.3 miles to West Broad Street (US 250).
  • Turn right onto West Broad St. and proceed for one half mile. The Science Museum is on your right.

There is ample free parking adjacent to the museum.

If you plan to cross the I-95 James River bridge to reach the Science Museum, you may want to check the current status of renovation construction work on the bridge at this VDOT web site:

A note from the President

Hi again! It's hard to believe the summer is gone already. Several interesting things are happening with VIP since our spring meeting at UVA. One of the most exciting is our new list serve! Ron Revere created a group for VIP on e-groups (thanks Ron!). Point your browser to and come join us! It's a work in progress so come help make it be what you need. We have the ability to post messages, conduct polls, keep a calendar of VIP events, chat and more. Correct and creative use of this list serve could be a huge benefit to all of us involved with physics education. This is the nearly instantaneous version of what VIP has been all about these last 14 years or so - fostering communication between teachers of physics and physical sciences.

Another great way to gather up some fabulous ideas is to visit the VIP website. Tony Wayne has been busy moving us from our previous place on VaPen to a new location which is As Tony continues to work on this location you may also wish to visit us on the VaPen location of where you'll find lots of links and our previous newsletters full of great labs, demos & lesson ideas. Thanks for all the hard work Tony!

Two other new things for VIP you saw on page one. We are being hosted at the Science Museum of Virginia. I wanted a chance for us to get together a little earlier in the year for a Kick-of-the-Year-Right kind of meeting. Jeff Liverman from SMV and I are working out the details. I hope it will be an energizing visit to a great State resource and the forging of a new partnership for VIP. Thanks Jeff for all you are doing for us. The second new twist on VIP will be at the VAST meeting. At the Spring VIP meeting it was agreed upon (unanimously as always - we're such an agreeable bunch!) that in addition to our regular 2 hour session at VAST, we would also present a one hour "table top physics" session, where the audience could just come in, look, learn and leave as they wish. It will make for an exciting format and it will require many presenters and a bit of planning. Come to Richmond with some thoughts of what you may like to present.

I hope your school year starts off great whether it's your first time at the front of the class or your 31st! I look forward to seeing you in Richmond. It should be a great meeting and a great opportunity for a behind the scenes look at the museum. PLUS the Imax film "Amazing Journeys" to boot!

With best regards,



The exercise below serves two purposes. In my class the students make frequent use of Vernier's Graphical Analysis. This exercise provides an introduction to the software. It gives the students hands on practice inputting numbers, titling the columns, and fitting best fit curves and lines. They can then use the printed & electronic versions of this exercise through the year when trying to understand "directly proportional", "inverse square" and those other foreign terms we physics types use. This is ungraded and I provide as much help as needed to ensure each student can do everything correctly. - Andy Jackson


A quick reference to graph types and variable relationships

  • Open the program "Graphical Analysis"
  • In the "X" column enter the numbers from 1 to 10.
  • Change the name of this column to "Independent"
    1. In the next column to the right enter the numbers that would be equal to the x column times 3.5. In other words the first number is 3.5 then 7 . . . and so on.
    2. In the next column to the right enter the numbers that would be equal to the X column times 2 + 4. Speaking math Y = 2X + 4 is the new column.
    3. In the next column over enter the numbers that would be equal to the x column squared.
    4. In the next column over enter the numbers that would be equal to 1 divided by the x column. In other words 1, 0.5, 0.333 . . . and so on. Put in three decimal places.
    5. In the next column over enter the numbers that would be equal to 1 divided by the numbers in the x column squared. In other words 1, 0.25, . . .Put in three decimal places.
  • 1 through 5 represent some common relationships we will see through the course. Create the 5 different graphs using "independent" as the x axis and each of the different columns as the Y axis in turn.
  • For each graph have the computer fit a best fit curve or line to the numbers.
  • In the text window describe what relationship Y had to X to get this graph.
  • In the text window explain the "meaning" of each constant in the auto curve fit equation.
  • Create a folder Named "Graph Examples" and save each graph under an appropriately descriptive name. (like directly proportional or inverse square)
  • Refer to these graphs when working with data to determine what relationships you may be examining.

I will provide you with a printed version of the graphs, equations, and tables.

Picture of the bungie lab


Bungie Jumping Energy Activity 30 possible points

Bungie jumping is a sport enjoyed by some daring individuals. It consists of a person hurling him or herself from a perfectly stable bridge, balloon, or platform with only an elastic cord to impede the otherwise inevitable impact with ground or riverbed. The person must possess the faith that the elastic material will be able to absorb the potential energy of the fall without breaking, and that the point at which the material absorbs this energy is at a positive vertical value (i.e. above the ground).

The design of such a thrill involves calculating the point at which the gravitational potential energy lost during the jumper's fall will equal the elastic potential energy (similar to a spring) gained by the elastic cord. To ensure maximum thrill this point is designed to be as close to the ground as safely possible.

Your task is to provide a cheep thrill for some plastic eggs using an elastic cord, a plastic egg, and a length of string. You must calculate the length of string that will give the maximum enjoyment. (If your elastic cord is too long, you may reduce the weight of your egg. To assist in your design task you may also use a meter stick, a spring scale, and a mass balance. Also the following diagram summarizing the task may be of assistance. Prior to the jump, you must provide assurance to the jump master that your calculations and subsequent design will provide a safe trip for your client.

The string is attached to the hook in the ceiling. The bungie cord is attached to the string. The top of the paper clip at the egg's top will touch the ceiling when dropped. Grades will be based on how close you come to the floor without touching the floor. See the diagram below. The rest of your score comes from how well you do and show your calculations. Your jump will be at the end of the period. You can take up to 2 jumps. The best score will be yours

A special thanks to VASTfor hosting our web site.