In this investigation, students measure distance and time in order to calculate the acceleration of a falling object. The investigation uses an app that precisely measures the time between two sounds.
By the end of this investigation, students should be able to:
- describe two ways to calculate the average speed of an object
- distinguish between speed and acceleration
- calculate acceleration.
The investigation supports the science capability ‘Gather and interpret data’. It also provides a real-world context in which to practise mathematical skills.
Equipment required includes a marble, wooden ruler, timing app, measuring tape and a shelf or other reasonably tall object.
Download the Word file (see link below).
Read through the article Alternative conceptions about gravity before doing this activity with students. Being aware of alternative conceptions allows teachers to be on the lookout for them during an investigation.
Calculating rocket acceleration provides background information on forces and compares the acceleration of a model rocket with the Space Shuttle.
An investigation of motion gives students the opportunity to develop an understanding of speed and acceleration.