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INVESTIGATING HUMAN POWER

You may use the following equations:

work done = force × distance moved in the direction of the force = change in energy
work done
power =
time taken

1 Determine your mass and your weight.

mass = ………………………………………… weight = mass x 10N/kg….………………………………………

2 Measure the height of 5 stairs and find their average:

heights (m): average height of stairs = c. 0.19m………………

3 Measure the number of stairs and calculate the height at the top of

the 1st block:


number of stairs = 10………………………………………… height = c. 1.9m…………………………………………

the 2nd block:


number of stairs = 20………………………………………… height = c. 3.8m…………………………………………

the 3rd block:


number of stairs = 30………………………………………… height = c. 5.7m…………………………………………

height at top
of 3rd block

height at top
height of one stair
height at top of 2nd block
of 1st block

You will find the time you need to move to the top of the 3rd block of stairs.

4 Start the timer when you are at zero height.


Note the time it takes you to get to the top of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd block of stairs.
Save your strength and stamina! You will do this three times!
Try to have the same speed every time.

Record your results in the table below.

Time (s)
Height (m) 1st attempt 2nd attempt 3rd attempt Average Work (J)
to top of c. 1000
1st block
to top of c. 2000
2nd block
to top of c. 3000
3rd block

1
Average power is found when we divide work by the total time.

work done
average power =
total time taken to do the work

5 Complete the table below by finding your average power at the time you got

to the top of 1st block to the top of 2nd block to the top of 3rd block
average power c. 500 c. 500 c. 500
(W)

6 Is your power constant (steady)? If not, give a reason.

probably won’t be
not able to keep up speed, tired
difficult to maintain same speed in different attempts
hard to maintain a consistent result

7 If you were to climb to the 4th floor using the stairs which of the three numbers would be closer to the
power you would develop? Give a reason.

probably the last / smallest of the values


same reasons as before, tiredness will slow down speed
=> less work per unit time done / less GPE per unit time gained
=> power drops

8 How do you think your results would differ if you rested a lot after each attempt?

Time of each attempt is expected to increase as you get tired


So probably time would be more consistent

on the other hand a student might not “remember” his speed in a previous attempt to maintain consistency
and times would be more erratic

The idea perhaps is to offer a good explanation rather than an exact answer

9 How would your calculated power be affected if the horizontal parts between blocks were larger?

calculated power would be less


same vertical height gained => same GPE gained
but in greater time, since time is lost over horizontal parts

2
IAA: General Review

Planning

1. Write an account of the experiment you did, using the following sections to structure your account.

a. List the apparatus you used.

stopwatch, ruler, balance

b. Method: describe what you did in your experiment.

measure mass
measure height of 5 stairs and find average
measure number of stairs in each block
calculate height at the top of each block
measure time to reach different heights on the way to the top
use height to calculate change in GPE at each height => Calculate work done at each height
repeat

2. Name the independent variable (the variable which was being changed during the experiment).

height

3. Name the dependent variable (the quantity you measured during the experiment).

time

4. List any controlled variables (variables you had to keep the same each time).

Controlled Variable Why was this variable controlled? How did you control this variable?
speed of climbing up the stairs in a for constant power climb stairs at steady rate
single climb
speed of climbing up the stairs in for consistent result, to calculate climb stairs at steady rate
different attempts average without many anomalies
height in each block fixed positions for comparison obviously, same building

5. Did you have to take any safety precautions in your experiment?


Identify these and explain why they were important.

Precaution Reason
only general:
not to fall, not to exhaust oneself, not slippery etc avoid injuries etc

3
Interpreting Data

1. Using graph paper, draw a graph of the data you recorded.


Put the independent variable on the x-axis and the dependent variable on the y-axis, unless your
teacher or the investigation instructions tell you otherwise.

Ensure your graph includes:


• Appropriate scales for each axis
• Axis labels
• Axis units
• A title
• Accurately plotted results
• A curve / straight line of best fit for your data, if appropriate for the type of graph

Work done against time

work done
(J)

time (s)

2. Describe the pattern you can see on your graph.

may or may not be possible to get a straight line at the beginning


will probably curve slightly towards the end
=> gradient falls as time passes, not constant, rate of work slower / less as time passes
=> power is not constant, decreases as time passes
because gradient = power

3. Suggest a scientific explanation for this pattern in your results.

getting tired
not able to maintain steady speed / rate of climb
lower rate of gaining GPE => Lower rate of doing work
=> less power

4
Analysis

1. How did you ensure your results were valid? /Refers to the method used being correct and appropriate/

timing started when climb started (no zero errors)


very short horizontal distances between blocks (you need time to go through them but no GPE is gained)
attempt to maintain steady speed (so that the average power is equal to momentary)

2. How did you ensure your results were reliable? /Refers to repeatability and consistency of results/

calculate average height of stairs


exclude anomalous and repeat timing

3. How did you calculate your averages (mean)? (if applicable to this experiment)

exclude anomalous
add the rest and divide by their number

4. How did you spot any anomalies in your results?

large difference with other results


does not fit best fit line / curve

5. How could you improve the reliability of the data you collected?

more repeats
measure exact height directly
have someone else measure time
more people standing at specific heights
take time at shorter intervals
eliminate horizontal parts

6. Suggest some causes of inaccuracies in the way you collected your data.

reaction time at start


difficulty at reading time while moving
horizontal parts between blocks
stairs may not all have had the same height

7. What did you find out from your investigation? What conclusions can you draw?

no specific conclusions
found out the power that each can develop

8. How could you obtain further evidence to help justify these conclusions, or prove them wrong?

more / less steep stairs


change weight (carry something)