The Perfect Swish
This is a multiple part laboratory study on projectile motion. The first part of the experiment will be conducted outdoors with foam rocket launchers in groups. Another part of the experiment will take place inside during a different double block with projectile launchers hooked to photogates (for precise timing measurements). You will work with a different group for the indoor portion of the lab. You will conduct additional experiments and make measurements using the nerf hoop and ball on my office door. Your ultimate goal is to answer, through what you learn by experimenting,
where should you stand and with what velocity (magnitude and angle) should you throw a ball so that it goes through the hoop on my office door?
Your individual lab write-up must be submitted to me before Thanksgiving (deadline depends on your block).
Yes, this is a big lab.
“Am I writing, specifically, about these experiments, the stomp rocket and the indoor projectile launchers?” Yes, but not in great detail. The goal is to take what you learn from each projectile experiment and to apply that to calculating, theoretically, what you must do to make the perfect swish.
Today, we are going to focus on the foam rocket launcher portion of the lab.
A projectile launched at angle θ0 with respect to the ground at a velocity v0 and at ground level will return to the ground a distance R away. This distance is called the “level horizontal range” and an equation for it can be developed by using the kinematic equations tailored to this situation, and treating the x and y components separately. We will derive this equation eventually in class, but for now, let’s just assume it works:
R= (v02 sin 2θ0)/g
This means that if you know just the angle and the launch velocity, you can predict how far the rocket will go.
Alternately, we could ask, “If we do several tries, measure how far the rocket goes and measure the launch angle, we should be able to rearrange the algebra and solve for the initial velocity.” Indeed.
So the things to do today include:
Toss a ball. Get a sense of how the velocity must be adjusted if you change the angle and hold the distance constant for a projectile, for example.
Measure the level horizontal range for a stomp rocket at an angle of your choosing and run several trials with as consistent a launch power as you can (i.e. same person jumping). Use string to measure long distances.
See how the measured horizontal range changes in an interesting pattern as the angle is adjusted. Measure the level range for angles of 10 degrees, 25 degrees, 45 degrees, 65 degrees, 80 degrees.
Use your data to calculate the launch velocity of your stomp rocket.
Then, use your data to predict where your rocket will land if you point at an angle of 50 degrees. Now actually launch the rocket and see if it lands where you expect it to. If it didn’t why not? Consider sources of error in this experiment.
At what angle would you have to aim the stomp rocket to launch it directly from the doorway of my classroom, though the prep room, and have it land somewhere in Anna’s room? Test it out and see if your idea works! Are there two angles that would work?
Use the technique you used to measure the launch velocity of a stomp rocket to measure the speed at which you, personally, generally toss the nerf basketball.
ABOVE ALL: keep a careful log of exactly everything you do! Do not discard any data. You may want to designate one person in your group to be the note taker.
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