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Falling Freely?

I. Objectives

 To perform an experiment to determine the acceleration due to gravity in a place.


 To relate speed and time, and constant acceleration and time from a v-t and a-t
graph.
 To cite possible sources of error and their effects in the experiment.
 To demonstrate cooperative learning during the experiment.

II. Materials

Ticker tape timer


Iron stand
Paper tape
Clamps
Ruler
Old newspapers
A dense object at least 1-kg mass

III. Procedure

1. Clamp the timer to the iron stand and position


this setup on one edge of a table about 1 m
high. Put a pile of newspapers below the setup
to serve as cushion for the object.
2. Connect the timer to the power supply.
3. Attach one end of the paper tape to the 1-kg Ticker
object. Insert the free end of the paper tape tape
through the tape guides of the timer. While
doing this, your partner should support the Ticker
object to prevent it from falling or being timer
detached from the tape (Fig.5.6.1).
4. Support lightly the free end of the tape with
your other hand to make sure that it is free to
run through the tape guides.
5. Switch on the timer. After the timer starts, the 1-kg
leader gives the go signal for your partner to mass
release the weight while you support the free
end of the tape. Be sure that the weight will
not hit anything on its way down to the pile of Fig. 5.6.1 Free fall setup
newspapers.
6. Detach the tape and you now have a tape record of the motion of a falling object.
7. Identify and mark the first clear dot of the tape then cut the tape at the end of every
second dot as shown in Fig. 5.6.2.2.

*Taken from Sourcebook in High School Physics for Teachers (2002), UP NISMED.

Unit 5 Energy in Transportation Lesson Plan 5.6-Acceleration Due to Gravity 5-40


first dot

Fig. 5.6.2. A tape record of a falling object.

8. Paste the cut tapes in order side by side on a graphing paper. Label each segment as
shown in Fig. 5.6.3.

A B C D E F G H I J K

Fig. 5.6.4. A Tape Chart.

9. Measure in cm the length of each tape segment. This corresponds to the distance
traveled d for each tape segment. Record data in Table 5.6.1. Each tape segment
has a time interval t of 2 dots. Calculate the time interval of 2 dots in seconds. This
will depend on the frequency of your timer.

Unit 5 Energy in Transportation Lesson Plan 5.6-Acceleration Due to Gravity 5-41


Table 5.6.1. Data table

Tape Segment Distance Average Change in


Time Interval, Traveled Speed Speed per
t d vave = d/t Unit Time
(2 dots = __ s) (cm) (cm/s) Interval
vave/t
(cm/s)/s
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
Average = _______________

10. Calculate the average speed vave of each tape segment by getting the ratio of distance
traveled d to time interval t and record data in Table 5.6.1.

11. Calculate the change in average speed vave per unit time interval between tape
segments and record values in Table 5.6.1 using the equation below:

change in average velocity vave vf inal – vinitial


= =
time interval t t

For example, between tape segments A and B:

vave vB - vA (length of tape B) –(length of tape A)


= =
t t __s_

12. Get the average of the last column of Table 5.6.1 and express answer in 3 significant
figures.

13. Compute the percent error using the equation:

computed value - standard value 


% error = ---------------------------------------------- x 100 %
standard value

Unit 5 Energy in Transportation Lesson Plan 5.6-Acceleration Due to Gravity 5-42


IV. ANALYSIS

1. The average speeds derived in Table 5.6.1 can be considered as instantaneous


speeds at the middle of the time interval. Why? (HINT: Explain by considering
the time interval.)

2. Describe the tape chart. What does the chart illustrate about the speed of the falling
object as time passes?

3. The change in average speed per unit time interval gives the acceleration of an
object. How will you describe the change in speed per unit time interval for
different tape segments? What does this indicate about the acceleration of the
falling object?

4. Measure the difference in lengths of two neighboring tapes in the chart. What do
you notice about this difference? What does this imply about the acceleration of the
falling object?
5. What is the value of this acceleration? What is the percent error of your computed
value compared to the standard value of 9.8 m/s2 ?

6. In this activity, the computed acceleration is due to gravity. In free fall, the forces
acting are air resistance and gravity. Why is air resistance not considered?

7. For accelerated motion like free fall, a net force acts on the falling object. In this
activity, what is the net force in terms of the forces acting on the falling object?

8. How will the tape chart look if acceleration of the object were zero?

9. What are the possible sources of error? How do these errors affect the value of g?

Unit 5 Energy in Transportation Lesson Plan 5.6-Acceleration Due to Gravity 5-43


Worksheet 5.6
Acceleration of Freely Falling Object

I. Objectives

1. Calculate the acceleration due to gravity from a sample data.


2. To relate speed and time, and constant acceleration and time from a v-t and a-t
graph.

II. Materials

graphing paper, pencil and ruler

III. Procedure

Refer to the tape chart and data table below

A B C D E F G H I J K

Fig. 5.6.5 Sample Tape Chart.

Unit 5 Energy in Transportation Lesson Plan 5.6-Acceleration Due to Gravity 5-44


Table 5.6.1. Data for Activity 5.6

Tape Time Interval t Distance Average Change in Velocity


Segment (2 dots = .033 s) Traveled Velocity vave Per Unit Time
d (cm) (cm/s) vave/t (cm/s/s)
A 2 dots=.033 s 2.35
B 2 dots=.033 s 3.90
C 2 dots=.033 s 5.25
D 2 dots=.033 s 6.60
E 2 dots=.033 s 7.50
F 2 dots=.033 s 8.50
G 2 dots=.033 s 9.80
H 2 dots=.033 s 10.80
I 2 dots=.033 s 11.85

1. Calculate the average speed vave of each tape segment by getting the ratio of distance
traveled d to time interval t and record data in Table 5.6.1.

2. Calculate the change in average speed vave per unit time interval between tape
segments and record values in Table 4A.1 using the equation below:

change in average velocity vave vf inal – vinitial


= =
time interval t t

For example, between tape segments A and B:

vave vB - vA (length of tape B) –(length of tape A)


= =
t t .033s

3. Get the average of the last column of Table 5.6.1 and express answer in 3 significant
figures.

4. Compute the percent error using the equation:


computed value - standard value 
% error = ---------------------------------------------- x 100 %
standard value

IV. ANALYSIS

1. The average speeds derived in Table 5.6.1 can be considered as instantaneous


speeds at the middle of the time interval. Why? (HINT: Explain by considering
the time interval.)

2. Describe the tape chart. What does the chart illustrate about the speed of the falling
object as time passes?
3. The change in average speed per unit time interval gives the acceleration of an
object. How will you describe the change in speed per unit time interval for

Unit 5 Energy in Transportation Lesson Plan 5.6-Acceleration Due to Gravity 5-45


different tape segments? What does this indicate about the acceleration of the
falling object?

4. Measure the difference in lengths of two neighboring tapes in the chart. What do
you notice about this difference? What does this imply about the acceleration of the
falling object?

5. What is the value of this acceleration? What is the percent error of your computed
value compared to the standard value of 9.8 m/s2 ?

6. In this activity, the computed acceleration is due to gravity. In free fall, the forces
acting are air resistance and gravity. Why is air resistance not considered?

7. For accelerated motion like free fall, a net force acts on the falling object. In this
activity, what is the net force in terms of the forces acting on the falling object?

8. How will the tape chart look if acceleration of the object were zero?
9. What are the possible sources of error? How do these errors affect the value of g?

Unit 5 Energy in Transportation Lesson Plan 5.6-Acceleration Due to Gravity 5-46