Mr. Rogers' AP Physics C: E&M (with IB Physics) Objectives

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3rd Q objectives small investigations IB internal assessment write up specs IB rubrics  
IB Phys Internal Assessment



IB Internal Assessment

The IB internal assessment is an important element in determining if you receive IB credit for the course. You will perform two specially designed physics investigations to be submitted for internal assessment. These are as follows:



Essential Question: What types of physical phenomenon follow an inverse square law relationship?


Investigation 1: Inverse Square Law Investigation

The following investigation and formal write-up are intended to help meet the physics internal assessment IB requirements (see write up specs and IB rubrics above).



Identify a phenomena that might follow an inverse square law relationship, design and conduct an experiment to test it, and draw conclusions about the results.


Deliverables: The final result will be formal write up meeting or exceeding all the requirements of an IB internal assessment rubrics. In doing so, the write up will follow the general outline of a science fair project as described in Format For Formal Write-ups of Physics Investigations. The write up will count as half a test grade.



Essential Question: Can the physics part of 9-11 conspiracy theories hold up to scrutiny?


Investigation 2: 9-11 Conspiracy Analysis Project


The following investigation and formal write-up are intended to help meet the physics internal assessment IB requirements (see write up specs and IB rubrics above).


Background: The official version of the 9-11 Twin Towers collapse says that jumbo jets flown by terrorists crashed into the building weakening the structure and causing major fires. These fires eventually further weakened the support structure until the buildings collapsed. This seemingly straightforward event observed by millions of viewers on television has spawned numerous conspiracy theories involving groups other than the terrorist group that claimed responsibility. Most of these conspiracy theories claim explosives were planted in the towers ahead of time. While physics cannot shed light on many types of evidence, it can address claims based on videos of the collapse. These are often given as “proof “of a conspiracy. One of the claims is that the towers collapsed at a rate in excess of 1 g. You will test this claim along with two others related to video data.




Activities Comments
  1. Find testable claims: Locate conspiracy theory sites on the internet and list 3 testable pieces of evidence or claims they use to indicate that the building had to be brought down by explosives including the claim that the buildings collapsed at a rate faster than 1 g. Formulate an appropriate research question, list the various conspiracy claims along with the web site references and hypotheses to test them.
Testable: the tower collapsed at a rate  faster than 1g.

Not Testable: Martians with invisible death rays made the tower collapse, so that they could take over Wall Street and suck the brains out of stock brokers and bankers. (While the above is clearly absurd, it's not that outlandish for a conspiracy claim.)

  1. Perform video analysis: Working in groups of three to four,  take video data of the North Twin Tower collapsing form a web site,  9 - 1 1 R e s e a r c h ( and produce a displacement vs. time graph from it by analyzing screen shots of the collapse in Adobe Illustrator. (You will have to devise your own procedures for doing so.) From this graph derive acceleration and velocity data in order to evaluate the claim that the the North Tower fell at a rate faster than 1g.
Comparison to a typical physics experiment: Since we are analyzing a historical event, we do not have the option of actually setting up the equipment to collect data, but the analysis is otherwise identical to a designed experiment. It is important to identify and consider independent, dependent, and control variables when selecting the video shots to analyze. This activity is similar to selecting and setting up measurement equipment in a regular lab experiment.

It's ok to use other videos from other sites. The suggested site is one of the few that is not blocked at the school.

  1. Perform mathematical modeling and observations:  Generally it's not possible to create exact mathematical models of complex events like a building collapse, but it is often possible to establish that an alternative explanation is or is not feasible by using a simple mathematical model combined with other  observations. for example: if a simple calculation says that an object would take t seconds to hit the ground after being dropped from the height of the twin towers and videos show that parts of the towers were still standing well beyond t seconds, then obviously the tower did not uniformly collapse at a rate of 1 g or higher. Perform any other analysis that may shed light on the two other conspiracy claims. Keep in mind that the building itself had a considerable amount of gravitational potential energy stored in it and a collapsing floor in a tower would have acted  like a huge piston increasing air pressure and creating a considerable wind as it fell.
Comparison to a typical physics experiment: It's still possible to state a hypothesis for testing the validity of  a claim even when using mathematical models and observational data.  However, here the concept of independent, dependent still apply, but the concept of control variables is different. Instead of control variables, assumptions in the models or observations should be stated.


  1. If it's possible to find a machine that uses water to cut steel (such machines do exist) then it's likely that other soft materials could be used to cut or punch holes in steel assuming that water has no special material  properties that would give it a special ability to cut steel.
  2. If we assume that a hypothetical photocell has 100% efficiency in converting sunlight to electricity and it still could not provide the needed power, then a real photocell (obviously with less than 100% efficiency) would not work in the application.


Deliverables: The final result will be formal write up meeting or exceeding all the requirements of the IB internal assessment rubrics. In doing so, the write up will follow the outline given in Format For Formal Write-ups of Physics Investigations. The write up will count as a test grade.


the diagram to the right shows the general layout for the write-up. Note that the three testable claims are to be listed in the Research Question section below the question. The hypothesis section will contain three hypotheses corresponding to the three claims in the Research Question section.


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Background: ajsdflsdjfklsdf sfsldf sdf  flsdf slaf lfdf l df f fsdafkfkdf sldkf sldf sdfidf9v9f ff sfsdjfd c   fsdf s;df;sffs;ff

Research Question: lafalsdjfsula ds 09d fdfi fasd f sdfj df assdsa bdfgdfgf ?

Claim 1: dfaosfos  dfi dsfjoisduf pdajfjsdfsdf fi

Claim 2: asdf vcxjelfku fdsl ierwou fsdf0u ew9r 

Claim 3: dadsjfoufueworjoewjr dfsjjojdfdf


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  2. nmfd sf fd df p f pofo fpsofpsf spoff-8ff;sdk;lf  df  f
  3. sd;f;sodifkfl f kfos sd;k fdf0sfi-0dfg gp fsd fdf


Data and Analysis:



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