Acceleration & Distance


In this lab you will explore velocity and acceleration. We will graph the data using Excel and examine the relationship between distance and time for velocity and acceleration.

Materials Procedure
  1. Incline the track on the table. One end of the track should be about 10 cm higher than the other end of the track.
  2. Place the ball at the first 10 cm mark, release it, and let it roll freely down the incline. Measure the time it takes to reach the bottom (the zero mark) and record this time in a data table in your lab notebook.
  3. Repeat the experiment at 10 cm until you have three times that are very close together. (Say 0.45 s, 0.52 s, & 0.49 s).
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 but this time start the ball at 20 cm. Continue repeating, moving the starting point 10 cm up the incline each time, until you reach 160 cm.
  1. Make a position vs. time graph using your data table. Put your distances on the vertical axis and average times on the horizontal axis.
  2. Use the X-Y scatterplot in Excel that connects the dots on the graph.
  3. Examine your graph to determine whether the ball rolls at constant velocity. Explain your answer.
  4. What type of curve does this look like?
  5. Create a new column for your data table and square the average time values.
  6. Create a new graph by plotting the distance traveled as a function of the square of your average time. (Average time on the x-axis).
  7. What does this graph look like?
  8. What is the relationship between distance travelled and time when an object undergoes a constant acceleration? Justify your answer using the data and graphs from this lab.
  9. What is the constant of proportionality between x and t2? What does it mean?
Product to Hand In

Both graphs and the answers to the questions in the analysis portion.

Credit for this lab belongs to G. Bither of Scarborough HS
Last updated: Sep 28, 2006 Home