Using Graphs to
Subject Area: Physical Science
Grade Level: 9-12
National Science Standards:
- Demonstrate an understanding of scientific inquiry by
correctly interpreting models.
- Demonstrate an understanding of forces and motion.
- Apply an understanding of science and technology.
National Technology Standards:
- Technology research tools: Use content-specific tools,
software and simulations (e.g., environmental probes, graphing
calculators, exploratory environments, Web tools) to support
learning and research; select and use appropriate tools and
technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve
- Problem-Solving and Decision-Making Tools - Routinely
and efficiently use on-line information resources to meet needs
for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and
After using the FoilSim computer simulation program, you
will demonstrate an understanding of the lift variables by
explaining their graphical representations.
FoilSim is an interactive
simulation software package that examines the airflow around various shapes
of airfoils. As you change parameters such as airspeed, altitude, angle
of attack, thickness and curvature of the airfoil, and size of the wing
area, the software calculates the lift. The package was created at the NASA
Glenn Research Center.
FoilSim II is a Java applet program that executes inside the browser of your computer.
It is available on the World Wide Web at
You can also
download the program to run off-line.
Shown below is a screen
shot from the program's controls and displays. You may change the values
of the variables by using the slider or the input box on the left of the
To use the slider:
- Click the mouse
pointer on the arrows at the ends of the slider.
- Click the mouse
pointer anywhere between the slider and the arrow.
- Drag the slider
with the mouse.
To use the input
Simply select the
value in the input box, key in the new value, and press Enter or Tab when
finished. The button on the slider will move corresponding to the value
typed in the box.
Use the simulation to produce the graphs of the lift variables. To
begin the problems, click on Using
Graphs to Compare Lift Variables.
You, or you and your partner(s), will be evaluated on the
accuracy or feasibility and completeness of your answers.
You will demonstrate the ability to use the information
produced through FoilSim to analyze and compare graphical data.
Submitted by: James P. Rinella, Big Walnut High School,