Shockwave Physics Studios
The Shockwave Physics Studios consists of a collection of pages which feature interactive Shockwave files that simulate a physical situation. Users can manipulate a variable and observe the outcome of the change on the physical situation. Many of the animations are accompanied by an activity sheet which provides directions and procedural information for users. Such activity sheets were designed so that the animation could become a classroom-ready activity for use by students and teachers. Links to the animation pages and the activity sheets are provided below.
Refine your understanding of the language of kinematics as you match 11 verbal descriptions of motion to 11 on-screen animations. Once you've completed the matching process, check your answers and receive immediate feedback. Answers can be revised until you have perfected your understanding.
Refine your understanding of the graphical descriptions of motion as you match 11 position-time and velocity-time graphs to 11 on-screen animations. Once you've completed the matching process, check your answers and receive immediate feedback. Answers can be revised until you have perfected your understanding.
Practice your skill at interpreting graphs. Ten different velocity-time graphs are presented; your goal is to enter motion parameters which will result in a motion which matches the graph.
Analyze the motion of a two-stage rocket and relate the motion to the features of a position-time and velocity-time graphs. When finished, take a quiz to check your understanding.
Practice your skill at constructing free-body diagrams for a given physical situation. Twelve different descriptions of a physical situation are presented; your goal is to determine the type and relative magnitude of the forces acting upon the described object.
Explore concepts of relative velocity by investigating the motion of a boat across a river in the presence of a current. Alter the boat speed and heading, the river width and current speed; explore the effect of these changes upon the time to cross the river and the distance traveled downstream.
Investigate the nature of a projectile using this projectile simulator. Alter the launch height, launch speed and launch angle and explore the effect of such alterations on the time of flight, range, and overall trajectory.
Practice your skill at solving horizontally-launched projectile problems by seeing if you can hit a target. Three types of problems are presented with randomly generated numbers.
Test your understanding of the relationship between the net force and the resulting motion as you attempt to guide a car around an oval race track in the least number of moves. Watch your speed on the curves and you'll be a winner.
Analyze the motion of an object moving in a circle at a constant speed and investigate the directional nature of velocity and acceleration and the effect of speed and radius upon the acceleration.
Learn about the concept of universal gravitation as you explore the variables which effect the force of gravity between an object and a planet.
Investigate the elliptical motion of a satellite orbiting a central body and the nature of the velocity and force vectors. Alter the eccentricity of the orbit and view the effect upon the shape of the ellipse.
Investigate Einstein's concept of time dilation. A pulse of light reflects off two mirrors in a spaceship. Set the speed of the spaceship and watch from Earth as the spaceship zooms by. Soon you will recognize why our conception of time breaks down in a relativistic world.
Investigate Einstein's concept of length contraction. A spaceship carrying a billboard zooms by Earth. Change the speed of the spaceship and watch the dimensions of the billboard change as viewed by observers on Earth. Soon you will recognize why our conception of length breaks down in a relativistic world.
Explore the standing wave patterns for a stringed instruments. Alter the length of the string, the amplitude of the wave pattern and the harmonic number. View the length-wavelength-frequency relationships.
Investigate the wave patterns associated with beats by combining two waves of similar frequency. Observe the wave patterns for the individual waves and observe the resulting beat pattern which is formed.
A set of three lights shine on a person and cast shadows of the person on a screen in the background. Turn the various lights on and off and observe how the colors of the shadows change.
It's your time to order uniforms for the school's football teams. There is one difficulty: the company which you will order from prefers to receive the order in terms of the three primary colors of paints which will be applied to different parts of the uniform. Experiment with the effect of different paint colors on the appearance of the various parts of the uniform.
Perform Thomas Young's famous experiment using this simulated activity. Make measurements for a projected two-point source light interference pattern in order to determine the wavelength of light which created the pattern.
Use a lifeguard-swimmer analogy to explore the relationship between the speed of a wave in two different media and the angles of incidence and refraction for the wave as it crosses the boundary between the media.
Investigate the reflection and refraction of light at a boundary. Alter the indices of refraction for the two media and change the angle of incidence. Explore Snell's law of refraction and total internal reflection.
Investigate how the image characteristics for a lens depend upon the object's distance from the lens. Drag the object to different locations and view the appearance of the image. Change the focal length, the object distance and the object height and observe the effect upon the characteristics of the image. Use the option of showing three principal rays from the extremity of the object.