TPT WebSights column draft for November 2004.


WebSights offers a selection of sites appropriate for teaching a standard topic year-long introductory physics survey course.  This month presents some for teaching momentum conservation and work and energy; next month will feature sites for rotational motion and thermodynamics.  All sites are copyright by the authors.  This column is also available as a web page at <http://PhysicsEd.BuffaloState.Edu/pubs/WebSights/>.

If you have successfully used a site to teach physics that you feel is outstanding and appropriate for WebSights, please email me the site and how you use it for possible inclusion in WebSights.  The best site monthly will receive a T-shirt. <>


Web resources for teaching impulse and momentum conservation, work and energy:

The Mechanical Universe: 52 half-hour university physics lessons streamed as video-on-demand free of charge.  Programs 13-15 address momentum and energy. A great reference for teachers before teaching a topic, or as enrichment or a makeup assignment for high ability students.

Roller Coaster / Amusement Park Physics: A number of website and downloadable curricular activities exist, particularly for conservation of energy.  See Tony WayneÕs electronic book Roller Coaster Physics and activities online at  The AAPT publishes a paper book Amusement Park Physics at  An interactive roller coaster applet is <>, with others at (conceptually analyses several different rides).  Suggested by: K. Benson, S. DeWyer, D, Doty, F. Nochese, K Richelt, N. Stenz.

Water Rocket physics: a comprehensive site of water rocket physics, design, construction, FAQs, specialty launchers, competitions, bibliographies, mailing lists etc.  NASAÕs Aerospace activities and lessons:  A very popular and widely used HS student design / competition project.  See also the simpler film-canister, seltzer, or pop rocket project for elementary students, which I have also done with my daughterÕs elementary school age birthday party guests, and for childrenÕs physics outreach.   Suggested: C. Gosling.

Car Crashes and Auto Accident Reconstruction: A topic of great and timely interest to HS students appropriate for momentum and impulse.  There are many insightful videos online; I show  Some lesson plans, activities and freely downloadable worksheets at can be used with or without the video product.  Also hyperphysics in car crashes at, and  At, a downloadable accident investigation manual for patrol investigators is available.  Suggested: N. Childs.

Collisions simulations / animation applets: is a nice and simple (clean) 1D introduction to this topic, with introducing the coefficient of restitution and CM / lab frames.  Collision details in two dimension (reference frames, impact parameters) are explored at <> and  Suggested: E. Fooks, C. Olszewski.

Compelling and popular animated basic tutorials of energy conservation and momenta suitable for enrichment, in-class projection or as absence makeup / review are found at, and  Suggested: C. Olszewski.

Popular topical sites on energy and power include the physics of archery sites, <> , and  Another pair of sites discusses sport / biological mechanical energy, power, and work -- a set of lecture notes at, (includes the infamous running up the stairs activity and a nice discussion of metabolism) and the physics of body building / weight lifting site at provides more athletically-relevant analyses.


Follow up on Spacecraft Piloting Games (10/04 WebSights column):  Inertia Games at St. AlbansÕ School: <>.  Programmed by Bob Morse, St. AlbansÕ Physics Master; includes learning research literature citations.


Dan M  <>