In this experiment, students build a paper ramp and use it to launch marbles off a table. Using a foil landing pad, students can determine where the marble lands and relate the distance traveled to the height on the ramp. Throughout the investigation, students relate their findings to the marble’s kinetic and potential energies. Extension studies encourage students to compare the angle of the ramp with the height of the marble and to connect these variables to the distance the marble flies.
• Gravitational potential energy is related to kinetic energy of a falling object.
• A thrown object makes a parabolic path.
• Vertical freefall can translate into horizontal speed when a ramp is involved.
marbles, cardstock, foil
This lab takes about 30 mins, but with extensions can take longer.
• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting
Related Labs Motion and Newton's Laws
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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