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Lab #1: Free Fall

Introduction
When we use the word acceleration, we mean the rate at which the
velocity of a moving object changes with time. In todays lab, we will
measure the acceleration due to the gravitational force exerted by the earth
on two different types of objects.
Objectives
1. Determine whether all objects fall at equal rates or at different rates.
2. Experimentally calculate the acceleration due to gravity.
Hypothesis
Answer the following individually:
How does an objects mass affect its acceleration towards the earth?
Materials
1. Meter stick
2. Stopwatch
3. Two different kinds of balls
Procedures
1. Your group will drop two different kinds of balls from three different
known heights. Make sure the heights are different and large enough to
reduce human error on your reaction time.
2. Record each of your three known heights at the TOP of each column in
the table. USE a meter stick and be as accurate as possible.
3. Collect the amount of time it takes the ball to hit the ground, and
record your time measurements in the table below. Do at least five
trials for each height.
4. Repeat the procedures for the second ball.
Data DO NOT FORGET YOUR UNITS. ONLY TURN IN ONE FOR EACH
GROUP.
Ball 1:
Trial
1
2
3
4
5

Height 1:
Time

Height 2:
Time

Height 3:
Time

Ball 2:
Trial
1
2
3
4
5

Height 1:
Time

Height 2:
Time

Height 3:
Time

Calculations SHOW ALL YOUR WORK. ONLY TURN IN ONE FOR EACH
GROUP.
On a separate sheet of paper, calculate the following for EACH of the three
heights for BOTH balls.
1. Average time it takes for each ball to hit the ground
2. Average velocity (You may use total distance/total time.)
3. Final velocity (Hint: the balls were initially at rest and you calculated
your average velocity.)
4. Acceleration (Hint: what is the definition of acceleration?)
Conclusion MUST BE IN COMPLETE SENTENCES
INDIVIDUALLY, discuss the accelerations you found for each of the heights
and for both of the balls. Ideally, the accelerations in #4 should have been
close to 9.8 m/s2. Is this what you got for all or some of the accelerations? If
your results were not perfect for all acceleration calculations, what could
have gone wrong in the measurements that would explain the discrepancies?
Also discuss how the differing masses of the balls affected (or did not affect)
the accelerations.
What you need to turn in at the end of class:
As a group (on a sheet of paper):

Data tables
Calculations

Individually (through the Hub):

Hypothesis
Conclusion