This experiment is a great introduction to horizontal projectile motion and you can use it as an inquiry lab. Students like it because there’s a bit of competition in it, but not against each other. There’s time to really look at the data and then to “stand and deliver” using their graph and data. You can even use it in a trigonometry or algebra II class to demonstrate quadratics.
Students roll marbles down a piece of PVC pipe, across the table and off into a box lid with some sand in it. They measure the angle of the launch and the horizontal distance and then graph the two variables. Finally, you choose a distance not in their data, but within the confines of it and they have one opportunity to hit the target for a grade using their data.
This lab can be completed in a 55 minute period in groups of 3-4 students. The materials are inexpensive and readily found in your local hardware store. You can use the set up year after year.
• Hands on
• Data collection and analysis
• Cooperative Learning
• Reinforcement of difficult concepts
• Student handouts
• Teacher Guide
• Key and Sample Data
• Use of technology: BYOD and a free app students can download
Keywords: projectiles, projectile motion, free fall, freefall, gravity, vertical, horizontal, velocity, speed, distance, time, experiment, lab, laboratory, inquiry, physics, STEM, AP Physics