Projectile Motion Lab
The UBC Physics 409D course requires the student to build an experiment or demonstration on some aspect of Physics appropriate to the high school level, to document the details of the construction of the lab to allow it to be duplicated by others and to take the demonstration to the high school classroom and teach it. The following web pages provide all of the information about the Projectile Motion lab that I designed for the course. This includes lesson materials, setup instructions, construction details, and computer software.
Kinematics in two dimensions or "projectile motion" is a standard part of the grade 12 curriculum for Physics. In order to demonstrate the basic principles a lab is often performed involving rolling a ball down a ramp so that it is launched into the air. The distance that it travels along with the time of the flight is then measured. With this data and the basic equations of motion the student can calculate the initial velocity, the effects of gravity and other factors related to the trajectory of the ball.
As a twist on this basic experiment I decided to introduce some technology into the mix. I designed a ramp that incorporated a computer to control an automatic ball release and a variable launch ramp angle. The computer also measured the launch velocity and controlled a catcher that would move to the calculated impact point and intercept the flying ball.
The objective is to not only demonstrate the basic concepts of projectile motion but to spark some interest in the technology involved in constructing a piece of automated equipment to liven up the demonstration.