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. 

 

Concepts Addressed

• 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. 

 

Materials Needed

marbles, cardstock, foil

 

Time Required

This lab takes about 30 mins, but with extensions can take longer.

 

Student Sheets

• Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 

 

Related Labs   Motion and Newton's Laws

Kinetic and Potential Energy Lab | A Projectile Motion Experiment

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