Education Technology

Acceleration Due to Gravity

Published on 05/10/2006

Activity Overview

Students will collect data of different massed cars and compare the acceleration down an incline.

Before the Activity

Students should have access to either the TI-83 or TI-84 family of calculators.

During the Activity

Students will be prompted with the question "does the mass of an object affect its acceleration?" To investigate this, students will be put into groups.
Each group will have a calculator (TI-73 or TI-83/84), a CBR™ (Calculator Based Ranger), a car and ramp setup (I use the ones from CPO (Cambridge Physics Outlet), and be logged into a TI-Navigator™ hub.
Each group will be assigned a car of a different mass and add the appropriate number of metal plates to accomplish this. All ramps should be on the same incline.
Students will use the CBR to record the motion of the cars down the ramps. To look at all of the data together, the lists will be collected into the TI InterActive!™ program through the TI Navigator system. The lists from each group will need to be collected into their own separate lists through TI Connect™. Simultaneous graphs can then be constructed to illustrate that the slopes of the lines from the velocity over time graphs are the same. This was really helpful in my class to overcome the misconception many students had that mass does affect acceleration and a great way to introduce momentum.

After the Activity

Review student results:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary