Vectors and Static Equilibrium (Brain Dump)

Next week we dig more deeply into vectors and tackle more complicated static equilibrium problems.

We start with different stations that are set up to support a 4N weight. For each, students have to draw a FBD and then read off force values from either spring scales or force sensors. The goal is to explain “how the individual forces” work together to support the 4N weight. 

Students are asked to compare and contrast the scenarios and try to come up with a general rule. Some cases are easier to account for than others. There are 4 vertical forces only cases, one with vertical and horizontal, and then a few cases involving angled forces. 

I have to revise the structure of this a bit, so that they encounter complexity unfolding grdaually, while also keeping it brisk (not rushed or lethargic)

After discussion, Students are formerly introduced to concept of vector components, they practice a bit with that. Clicker questions and practice exercises. 

We formerly extend N2nd law to component form. And then we practice some problem solving  with static equilibrium. There’s a particular way I like to model this:

1. Draw actual free body diagram 

2. Redraw free body diagram with components (no trig, just draw and label)

3. Redraw 2 separated 1D FBDs

4. Solve the two simple problems using reasoning we have done previously.

5. Use triangle geometry to piece it back together.

The philosophy here is turning a hard problem into two easier problems you know how too solve. 

Blah blah blah. 

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