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TERMINAL VELOCITY: Mission 2

Lab 1: Calculating Speed and Determining
Velocity

Name:

Period:

Objective: Read the lab intro and summarize what you will be doing during this lab and how
Matt Brumbelow’s work relates to this lab:

Lab Prep
Figure A

Figure B

1. Connect pieces of foam pipe insulation together using toothpicks, as
shown in figure A..
2. Measure and record the length of the
foam/track.

Length of track = ___________________________________________________________
3. Arrange the foam into a track, using books or other objects to create hills as shown in figure B.
4. Test the track with one of the balls and adjust as needed.
5. Record the mass and a description of each ball you will use in this lab in the table below.
Ball #

Description

Mass

1
2
3
4

5. Stretch a piece of string from the start of the track directly to the barrier at the end of the track.
Measure the string to determine the magnitude of the displacement from the beginning of the
track to the end.

Displacement = _____________________________________________________________

© The JASON Project 2011

1

Make Observations
1. Release each ball one at a time down the track and record how long it takes to reach the barrier
at the end. Record the times in the chart below.
2. Calculate the average time for each ball and record it in the chart.
Ball #

Trial 1 Time

Trial 2 Time

Trial 3 Time

Average Time

3. Determine the average speed of each ball using the formula speed = distance/time.
Ball #

Distance (length of track)

Average Time

Speed
(Distance / time)

4. Graph your data. Put time on the x-axis and distance on the y-axis. Choose an appropriate scale
and create a title for your graph. Plot the average speed of each ball as a point. Then draw a line
from each point to (0,0) in the bottom left corner of the graph.

© The JASON Project 2011

2

Describe a relationship between the slope of the line on the graph and the speed of the ball.
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Based on your observations, in which areas of the track do you see increases and decreases in the
balls’ speed?
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
© The JASON Project 2011

3

Make observations on each ball’s velocity after it strikes the barrier at the end of the track. Does it
just stop? Does it bounce back? If so, do they all bounce back the same distance and speed?
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________

Reflect and Apply
How do the speeds of the different balls compare?
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
What variables may be causing the difference in speed of the different balls?
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
Develop some hypotheses about what variables may be causing differences in the balls’ motion after
they strike the barrier.
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
How does the overall displacement of the ball compare to the overall distance the ball actually traveled on the track?
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________

Journal Question
Why do the balls react differently when they strike the barrier at the end of the track?
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________________
© The JASON Project 2011

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