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SCI 101 Milestone #1: Physics Unit

Impact Event Analysis – Application of Newton’s Laws and Wave Physics


Milestone Summary:  You will choose an actual impact event coupled with a wave phenomenon to analyze.  The event should be based on a real-world example or everyday occurrence (see samples below).  Students will describe the event and give background data and information on it.  They will educate their audience on the physics behind their event and the importance of learning more about it.


Milestone Purpose:  Physics is all around us!  This milestone will allow you to apply your course content to a real-world event that affects people in your own community and around the world.  You will analyze and explain the physics behind your event.  In so doing, you will strengthen your knowledge base, critical thinking, and problem solving skills.


Milestone Topic:  You can choose from the following categories of events to analyze.  NOTE:  if it is an earthquake or tsunami, then it needs to be a real current or historical example and you must describe what causes them, how they are measured for magnitude and intensity, and describe seismic waves.

  • An earthquake and/or a tsunami
  • A car crash (or object crashing into something with speed)
  • A physical sports injury resulting from a collision (ex. football or boxing)
  • An everyday task like shopping (ex. pushing a shopping cart, throwing or dropping something)
  • An everyday fun activity like dancing (ex. falling down while dancing or slamming into someone)
  • A falling object (ex. skydiver or part of a building collapsing)

NOTE:  for the wave portion of your event – you could always talk about doing something while listening to music (which involves sounds waves).  For instance, sports, shopping, dancing, etc.


Structure:  Students will create a 4-5 page research paper.  Follow the Formatting Guide Provided in D2L.

Make sure your project adheres to the following criteria:

  • Separate title and references pages (doesn’t count in length)
  • Length = NO LESS THAN 4 PAGES (not including title, refs, pics)!
  • References = No LESS than 3 outside professional references (cited in APA style)
  • Use your own words = No large quotes or cutting/pasting of text will be acceptable!
  • Papers = default font types and sizes, with 1-inch margins, and double spaced. Submit as WORD doc or as pdf document. If you have a Mac, please make the conversion from Mac to one of these formats.



SCI 101 Milestone #1: Physics Unit

Project Formatting Guide: (this is just a suggested way to organize your project, as a paper

  • Title page (with name, date, and title)
  • Table of Contents – separate page- at the beginning
  • Glossary section at the end (with your major unit definitions)
  • Paragraph 1/: Statement of Issue:  Purpose and importance of paper/presentation.  What was your event (what, when, where). What topics are you going to teach your audience, why is it important to study the physics behind your event?
  • Paragraph 2/:Who Cares Statistics”:  Discuss data and some appropriate stats:  how many deaths/injuries, who was impacted, what was the damage, how many events like yours happen, what is the significance, if an earthquake – what was the intensity, how did it impact the economy/area, what other issues did it cause for the region? If it is an everyday activity – what is its significance and talk about your neighborhood and community (ex. shopping and food availability or spending).
  • Paragraph 3/: Find and Explain a Graph:  Based on your statistics and data research, find a graph related to your event.  Show the graph (make sure to cite it) and EXPLAIN what it means.
  • Paragraph 4/: What causes your event?  Educate your audience about the science behind your event (ex. earthquakes and plate tectonics).  Describe them in detail.  Make sure you explain what causes them, what the three types of plate boundaries are, what are fault lines, and what are epicenters and aftershocks.
  • Paragraph 5/: Newton’s Laws of Motion:  Define all three Newton’s Laws of Motion.  Then, tie them directly into your event and describe in detail how each law connects.
  • Paragraph 6/:         Impact Physics:  Using Net (F = m x a) or Normal Force (F = m x g), calculate the net forces of the brick falling. ***Then relate this example to your event you chose to write about.
  • A 10 kg brick falls from the top of a four story building (20 m). Assume it starts with an initial velocity of 0 going downwards, takes 2 sec to fall and that g= 9.8m/s2. If after falling, the brick takes .1 sec to stop, to 0 m/s, with how much net force does the brick hit the ground?
  • o Include the formulas, show all work, and include units.  Educate your audience!
  • Paragraph 7/: Wave Physics:  Educate your audience about wave physics.  Define mechanical waves, discuss longitudinal v transverse waves, label them and describe which type of wave your scenario involves and describe its physics.
  • Paragraph 8/: Identify Problems:  Educate your audience on some issues related to your event.  Why should society care about it?  What is the importance to the world?  (ex. concussions in sports, texting and driving, no access to food in some areas, earthquake disaster relief, tsunami warnings, etc.)
  • Paragraph 9/: Suggest Solutions to the Problems:  Educate your audience about some solutions and tips on how to solve your issues or problems.
  • Paragraph 10/: Conclusions: What are the main takeaways for your audience? This shouldn’t be long…but make it powerful and a meaningful last point for your audience to ponder.
  • References Page/: At LEAST THREE references; NO Wikis. Go to the following website to learn APA citation and how to write a reference page:

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