Velocity and Acceleration Lab

The Urban Assembly School of Criminal Justice for Young Women, Brooklyn

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

August 2012

Subject: Regents/General/Conceptual Physics

Time Frame: 2 periods or 1 block period

Objective: Using the initial and final velocities of a marble down a ramp, students will be able to calculate the acceleration of the marble.

Motivation: Frame the activity as a competition to construct a ramp that will land a marble two feet away from the edge of a table into a wastebasket.

Materials: (Per Group of 3-4 Students)

• Styrofoam blocks
• Foam strips for ramp
• Toothpicks
• Shish kebab sticks
• Meter stick
• Stopwatches

Do Now: Explain how to find velocity and acceleration.

Activity: Explain that given the materials provided, students must construct a ramp that will land a marble two feet away from the edge of a table into a wastebasket.  After students have completed this, using the materials provided students must calculate initial and final velocities of the marble to determine the acceleration on their ramp.

Exit Slip:

1. What was your strategy in creating a ramp that would land a marble into the wastebasket?

1. Describe what kind of ramp will produce the greatest acceleration.

1. Describe the kind of ramp that will produce the least acceleration.

New York State Learning Standards:

5.1d An object in linear motion may travel with a constant velocity* or with acceleration*.