Lesson Plan

Projectile Motion Exploration

Students will explore how different variables influence the trajectory of a projectile.
Anna T.
Classroom teacher
Garnet Valley High School
Glen Mills, United States
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Math, Science
Objectives

Students will be able to...

  • Edit a Google Doc and submit through Schoology
  • Use an online simulator to model projectile motion
  • Take a screenshot
  • Calculate range, initial height, and initial velocity for a projectile
  • Manipulate conditions to describe a projectile with specific requirements
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Guided Practice

Teacher will break students up into groups of 3. Within each group, students will visit the PHET Projectile Motion Simulator. Students will also create a Google Doc to record their data and observations.

Part A: Predicting Range

  • Students will make a table to record the initial velocity, height, and launch angle for 3 trials: 
  • Trial 1: 20 m/s, 0m, 25 degrees
  • Trial 2: 10 m/s, 10m, 45 degrees
  • Trial 3: 15 m/s, 4m, 60 degrees
  • Students will add to their table calculated values for the range and time of the projectile. They will then use the simulator to get the actual values.

Part B: Predicting Initial Height

  • Students will make a table to record the initial velocity, range, and launch angle for 3 trials: 
  • Trial 1: 13 m/s, 15m, 30 degrees
  • Trial 2: 8 m/s, 9.3m, 55 degrees
  • Trial 3: 19 m/s, 21.2m, 75 degrees
  • Students will add to their table calculated values for the initial height and time of the projectile. They will then use the simulator to get the actual values.

Part C: Predicting Initial Velocity

  • Students will make a table to record the initial height, range, and launch angle for 3 trials: 
  • Trial 1: 10 m, 20 m, 0 degrees
  • Trial 2: 6 m, 15.5 m, 0 degrees
  • Trial 3: 13 m, 6.5 m, 0 degrees
  • Students will add to their table calculated values for the initial velocity and time of the projectile. They will then use the simulator to get the actual values.

Part D: Multiple Paths

  • Students will make a table to record the initial height and range for 3 trials: 
  • Trial 1: 5 m and 18 m
  • Trial 2: 12 m and 22 m
  • Students will add to their table 3 different values for the launch angle, initial velocity, and time of the projectile that produce the given range with the given initial height. They will use the simulator to get their data.
  • Students will include at least one screenshot of the simulator for their proposed combinations.

Conclusion: Students will answer the following questions: 

1. What did you notice about the relationship between the launch angle and the initial velocity needed to hit the target with the same starting height?

2. What did you notice about the relationship between the time it takes to hit the target and the initial velocity and launch angle?