# Heavy vs. Light Falling Objects

Contributor
Concord Consortium
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

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## Description

Students are walked through analyzing data representing  the dropping of a heavy ball and a light ball, making predictions before they see the position vs. time and velocity vs. time graphs for each of these actions. Follow up questions ask about how to interpret the graphs and find the slope and compare the motion graphs for a heavy falling ball and a light falling ball.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
• High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

#### Performance Expectations

HS-PS2-1 Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.

Clarification Statement: Examples of data could include tables or graphs of position or velocity as a function of time for objects subject to a net unbalanced force, such as a falling object, an object rolling down a ramp, or a moving object being pulled by a constant force.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to one-dimensional motion and to macroscopic objects moving at non-relativistic speeds.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

The resource analyzes the motion of two objects falling from the leaning tower of Pisa and the position vs. time and velocity vs. time graphs of the two objects are analyzed. The acceleration is calculated from the slope of the velocity graph and the masses are stated but the statement of Newton's second law is implicit in the resource. The acceleration of the ball is proportional to the force acting on the ball, this is an example of Newton’s second law. The activity doesn’t discuss the forces involved directly, but to pull in Newton’s second law the instructor can incorporate a free body diagram of the ball and add a discussion of the forces involved and the changes in magnitude of those force throughout the activity.

#### Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Real data is analyzed and sources of error and variation from the standard value are discussed. To reinforce this practice, students can be asked to write a reflection on the meaning of each of the graphs they encounter throughout the activity, and on the relationship of one graph to another.

#### Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

The simulation leads the student through an investigation of the motion of two falling objects of different masses. The relationship to the force of gravity is implied not stated within the activity, although the acceleration of each is calculated by finding the slope of the velocity vs. time graph for each falling ball. This activity can be used in a unit following an introduction to forces and their analysis and perhaps followed by experimentation with falling objects in the lab where they can take measurements of their own to compare to the graphs they saw in the simulation.

#### Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.