Today we did the elevator lab. Confession: I did not have the energy to endure my students inevitably drawing the incorrect conclusion that the scale always reads the weight, and on an elevator one’s weight can change.
In act of desperation I had a couple of students slowly punch the scale, and it seemed to make more sense to them that the scale reads the normal force. I am not confident this idea will stick, and I think I will need to introduce the idea of Normal Force and Apparent Weight as equivalent sooner rather than later.
I don’t have a good way of really getting students to the idea that the scale reads the normal force. I don’t even think this Veritasium video is convincing them, even though they’ve seen it quite a few times.
I am at a loss as to how to make this idea clear to them.