The Physics Cannon Lab turns your class into a government technical team tasked with calculating the velocity of a prototype tennis ball cannon. The cannon is not included, but a set of directions on how to build it are provided. Depending on how much information you provide ahead of time, students will need to determine a way to take the available equipment and devise a test firing range, take data, and finally calculate the velocity of the cannon using two different methods. Those methods will be 1) using momentum by measuring the recoil velocity of the cannon and 2) using projectile motion by measuring the height the ball falls and the distance it travels in the horizontal direction.
The following handouts in both Word and PDF format are included:
* Cannon lab handout (CannonLab.doc)
* Cannon lab handout answer key (CannonLab_Key.doc)
* Excel spreadsheet that will calculate all of the answers from input data (CannonLabCalcs.xls)
* Step by step directions on building and firing the tennis ball cannon (HowToCannon.doc)
* A larger data table for use as an overhead for students to track data (CannonLabDataTable.doc)
* An instructor’s guide with notes and (CannonLabNotes.doc)
Product: Physics Cannon Lab
Product Type: Experiment Handouts / Materials
Curriculum: Physics / Mechanics / Momentum and Projectile Motion
Level: Grades 9-12 & college
The documents are downloaded as a zipped file.
Please e-mail email@example.com if you have any questions.
1) Work together to set up an experimental test range
2) Develop a way to calculate the velocity of the ball coming out of the cannon in two ways (one momentum and one using projectile motion)
3) Work together to take data of heights, distance, masses, and data to calculate the velocity of the cannon
4) Calculate the velocity of the ball leaving the cannon in m/s and mi/hr in two ways
5) Do a % error calculation and determine how high the cannon could shoot the ball
Time To Use: ~ 2 hours or two periods of instruction
Requirements: Excel (optional)
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Purchaser may duplicate materials for use with all students in their classes only. Purchaser may modify materials but must retain the original copyright notices. None of these materials, even if modified, can be used for commercial purposes or placed on public networks or on the Internet.
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cannon, projectile motion, friction, momentum, experiment, physics, mechanics, recoil, velocity