In this experiment, students push two pennies off a table: one simply falls and the other is launched horizontally. Regardless of how far or fast the one penny is launched, both hit the ground simultaneously. This simple demonstration shows that horizontal speed and vertical acceleration are independent. This surprising fact is fundamental to understanding projectile motion.
- All objects fall at the same rate.
- Horizontal speed has no affect on vertical speed/falling.
- Projectiles always fall with a parabolic motion.
Materials Needed per setup: Ruler, 2 similar coins
Prep Needed Gather supplies
Teaching Time 20-30 min
Related Labs Motion and Newton's Laws
Force and Motion Study: Motion in Two Dimensions | Projectile Motion
Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.
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