Lesson 17, Topic 1
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Practical Investigations of Projectile Motion

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Determine Acceleration Due to Gravity

Materials

  • Ball of any kind
  • Measuring device
  • Stopwatch or smartphone

Method

  1. Find a point of elevation from which to drop the ball. Measure and record the height from this point to the ground.
  2. Drop the ball and begin the stopwatch at the same time, stopping and recording the time immediately when the ball reaches the ground.
  3. Repeat the experiment multiple times from the same distance to increase reliability.
  4. Re-arrange the equation s = ut + at2 to make a the subject.
  5. Substitute the average time of flight and the constant distance into the following for an approximation of gravitational acceleration on Earth:
a = \frac{s - ut}{t^2}