Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Viscosity Tube Lab

Speed of the Bubble
Viscosity Tube Set

For several years now I have used the Speed of the Bubble Viscosity Tube sets from Educational Innovations as an introduction to speed and velocity.


The viscosity tubes set contains three tubes filled with oils of varying viscosities in three distinct colors.  Students time the movement of a bubble through the oil.  Beginning with the basics of distance over time as the speed of an object, students can calculate the speed each bubble.  Students then create a chart of distances at 2 second time intervals.  From this data students then plot points on distance versus time graph on a coordinate grid.

Students continue the process by drawing the line of best fit for the data of each tube and then complete their data by calculating the slope of the line for the data of each tube.  Utilizing this data and the calculations students compare the slope of the line and calculated velocities to gain an understanding of reading a motion graph.

From this activity students can demonstrate an understanding of:

  • Distance
  • Defining Viscosity
  • Calculating Speed
  • Calculating Velocity
  • Measuring Techniques
  • Timing Techniques
  • Gathering Data
  • Creating a Data Table
  • Graphing x and y Coordinates
  • Drawing a Line of Best Fit
  • Calculating Slope of a Line
  • Reading a Motion Graph

This Speed of a Bubble Lab is a great way to review basic algebra concepts while introducing the properties of velocity in physics.

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