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Lab: Projectile Motion
Student Lab Report

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In this lab activity, you will investigate the motion of a horizontally launched projectile.

  • Materials:
  • • marble or small ball
    • stopwatch
    • small weight
    • table
    • book or block
    • string or fishing line
    • meter stick
    • ruler with groove down the middle
    • masking or painter’s tape
    • small weight or plumb bob
    • calculator
    • carbon paper

  • Procedure:
  • 1. Set up a ramp to launch the marble (or ball). Use a book or block to prop up the

    ruler so the marble can roll down the groove. As you are setting up the ramp,
    consider the following:

    • The ramp should be at an angle that allows as smooth as a transition
    to the table as possible.

    • The starting point on the ramp needs to give the marble a reasonable
    velocity.

    • The ramp should be set up with enough room for the marble to roll
    across the table before it falls to the floor (about 30–50 cm). However,
    this distance needs to be considered carefully. If the distance is too
    short, you will not be able to accurately calculate the velocity of the
    marble. If the distance is too long, the marble will be slowed down by
    friction before it reaches the edge of the table and your velocity
    calculations will not be accurate as the marble leaves the table.

    • NOTE: As you are setting up the ramp, do not allow the marble to roll
    off the table.

    2. Tape the ruler to hold the ramp in place. Stick a piece of tape near the bottom of
    the ramp where the marble begins to roll. Stick a second piece of tape at the
    edge of the table where the marble will roll off (at least 30 cm apart). Measure
    and record this distance (d).

    3. Measure the distance from the top of the table to the floor. Measure and record
    this distance (h).

    4. Do a trial run to find the approximate location where the marble will hit the floor.
    Mark this location by taping a piece of paper on the floor. Then put a piece of
    carbon paper face-down over it. The carbon paper will leave a mark on the other
    paper when the marble hits it.

    5. Launch the marble five times, making sure you are consistent in how/where you
    launch. Each time you launch, measure the time it takes the marble to roll across
    the table (d), and make sure that the marks on the paper are close together as
    the marble hits the floor.

    6. Make a plumb line using the string and weight or plumb bob. Hang the string
    from the edge of the table (where the marble leaves the table). Allow the weight
    to hang to the floor to mark the spot on the floor directly below the edge of the
    table.

    7. Measure and record the distance from the weight or plumb bob to the center of
    the marble landing points. This is the projectile range (R).

    8. Change the position of your ramp (increase or decrease the incline) to change
    the speed at which the marble is launched.

    9. Repeat steps 4–7.

  • Data:
  • Ramp

    Position
    Distance

    (cm)
    Time (s)
    Trial

    1

    Time (s)
    Trial

    2

    Time (s)
    Trial 3

    Time (s)
    Trial 4

    Time (s)
    Trial 5

    Average

    1
    2

  • Analysis:
  • 1. Calculate the average time (s) it took for the marble to travel the distance across

    the table (d).

    2. Calculate the velocity (v) of the marble as it rolled across the table.

    3. Calculate the falling time of the marble. Falling time equals the horizontal
    distance (R) divided by velocity.

      Materials:
      Procedure:
      Data:
      Analysis:
    1. analysis question 2 answer:
    2. analysis question 3 answer:
    3. analysis question 1 answer:
    4. procedure step 2 answer:
    5. procedure step 3 answer:
    6. procedure step 5 answer:
    7. procedure step 7 answer:
    8. procedure step 8 answer:
    9. ramp position 1 distance:
    10. ramp position 2 distance:
    11. ramp position 3 distance:
    12. ramp position 3:
    13. ramp position 1 time trial 1:
    14. ramp position 1 time trial 2:
    15. ramp position 1 time trial 3:
    16. ramp position 1 time trial 4:
    17. ramp position 1 time trial 5:
    18. ramp position 1 average:
    19. ramp position 2 average:
    20. ramp position 3 average:
    21. ramp position 2 time trial 2:
    22. ramp position 2 time trial 1:
    23. ramp position 2 time trial 3:
    24. ramp position 2 time trial 4:
    25. ramp position 2 time trial 5:
    26. ramp position 3 time trial 5:
    27. ramp position 3 time trial 4:
    28. ramp position 3 time trial 3:
    29. ramp position 3 time trial 2:
    30. ramp position 3 time trial 1:

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