Vision for Learning News

Oscillating Springs
Posted 01/18/2017 04:23PM

As part of a unit on oscillating systems, students in the AP Physics C class created a computer model of a mass oscillating on a spring. (Physicists call this “simple harmonic motion.”) Having already explored Hooke’s Law, which describes the behavior of springs in response to various forces, students were introduced to the coding language known as Processing. Mr. Thomas Cooper, who teaches computer science and engineering, led students through the creation of a basic program modeling spring behavior. Students were then challenged to improve upon their models by collecting and analyzing data, followed by the addition of variables, data structures, and mathematical formulas as needed to improve the accuracy of the simulation.  Students with a more extensive background in programming, such as senior Nicholas Klavohn (pictured), also added an advanced programming interface allowing visualization of the sinusoidal wave produced as the spring oscillates.

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