The phenomenon of electromagnetism is experienced first-hand by user interaction with the Electromagnetic Ring Launcher FLEXCART. Students using the Electromagnetic Ring Launcher can select rings made of various materials and sizes to place on the launch pad. Students then crank the generator to create an electrical current that will be stored in the capacitors.
Once the desired voltage is reached the user presses the silver button releasing the stored electrical current from the capacitors which induces a magnetic field in opposition to the ring’s magnetic field causing the ring to launch.
Electricity and Magnetism as Interrelated Concepts: Students are introduced to the idea that electricity and magnetism are interrelated and that an electrical current can create a magnetic field.
Magnetism and Force: Students will learn about magnetism, attraction and repulsion, and how invisible magnetic forces can move physical objects.
Models: Students will use the Electromagnetic Ring Launcher FLEXCART, a form of exhibit technology, to explore the phenomena of electromagnetism. Students will also use data and observations to evaluate the effectiveness of the model.
Variables: Students will be able to manipulate variables and observe the results on the movement of the rings.
Engineering Principles: Students will design, build, and test their own electromagnets to meet the needs of a specific challenge.
Math Calculations: Students will calculate the potential energy of the different rings on the Electromagnetic Ring Launcher FLEXCART.
Computer Science: Students will become familiar with how electromagnets are controlled by computer programming in order to propel a Maglev train down the track.
Vernier Technology: The use of theVernier Go Direct® Current Probe and Graphical Analysis™️ 4 allow students to collect, analyze and interpret real-time scientific data from their Electromagnetic Ring Launcher investigation. The Current Probe can be purchased separately at Vernier.com and is accompanied by Graphical Analysis™️ 4 as a free download with the purchase of any probe or sensor.
The Electromagnetic Ring Launcher FLEXCART includes a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) aligned unit plan for educational use. The unit plan includes individual lesson plans and all accompanying worksheets needed in order to teach the unit. Each lesson includes the direct NGSS alignment, a grade appropriate scientific explanation of the background for the lesson for the teacher, the activity, a way to extend the lesson and the take away. We currently offer Electromagnetic Ring Launcher supplemental curriculum written for Grade Bands 3-5 and 6-8. Grade Bands 9-12 are in process of development. (K-2 has no unit as the science is above grade level and there is no grade appropriate NGSS alignment). The following lists some of the NGSS Topics and Performance Expectations included:
3-PS2-1: Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
3-PS2-3: Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.
4-PS3-2: Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
4-PS3-4: Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another.
5-PS2-1: Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
3-5-ETS1-1: Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
3-5-ETS1-2: Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
3-5-ETS1-3: Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.