Lesson Plan

Projectile Motion: Distance

A physics lesson in which the class will learn about distance traveled by a projectile.

Students will know the equations necessary to find the lateral position of a projectile.

Students will understand the effect initial velocity has on final projectile position.

Students will understand the effect launch angle has on final projectile position.

Given launch angle and initial velocity, students will be able to identify final x-coordinate of projectile using the Projectile Motion Simulator.

Grades 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook (2 minutes)

Activity: Presenting

I will begin by throwing something soft  and unlikely to break anything or injure anyone across the classroom. From there I will explain that this is a projectile and that we'll be talking about projectile motion.

2 Direct Instruction (3-4 minutes)

Activity: Presenting

Explain how to find the final x-coordinate of a projectile using mathematical equations.

x = t*v*cos(angle)

0 = 4.9*t^2 + t*v*sin(angle), solve for t, put into first equation


3 Facilitated Practice (2 minutes)

Keeping angle set to 45, change initial velocity on simulator and observe how this affects final position. Greater velocity should lead to greater distance traveled and vice versa. 

Keeping velocity set to 40 m/s, change launch angle and observe how this affects final position. 45 degrees will result in the greatest distance traveled with anything less or greater resulting in a progressively smaller final position. 

4 Independent Practice (2 minutes)

Have students try to find angle and velocity combinations that result in final positions put up on the board.

5 Assessment (2 minutes)

Activity: Conversing

Group discussion about how angle and velocity affect the path and final position of a projectile. Call out on a group or two afterwards to share their findings.