Physics C Mechanics
Click here to see the unit menu
Return to the home page to log out 

Virtual Activity: Projectile Motion
     There are 4 parts to this activity. Use the controls in the simulation to fire the projectiles (by pushing the red firing button) at various angles and with various initial speeds. Don't forget that the definition of the "range" is the distance traveled in the x-direction to get back down to the original firing height. The trajectory shown in the simulation starts at the base of the cannon.

     You can use the tools (located at the top of the simulation) to make any measurements you need. Record all of your work in your lab notebook, including the calculations you make and results of the simulations.

Activity #1:
a. Calculate the range of a projectile with an initial speed of 16 m/s and a firing angle of 35° when the cannon is on the ground.  After you determine the answer, adjust the parameters to those values in the simulation and fire the cannon. Record your results and the results given by the simulation.
b. Change the mass of the projectile in the simulation by choosing several different objects as projectiles. Do you think this change will have any effect on the range? Fire the cannon with a different mass. Does this change have any effect? Why or why not?
Activity 2:
a. Calculate the maximum height of a projectile fired at 8 m/s and a 50° firing angle. After you determine the answer, adjust the parameters in the simulation to these new values and fire the cannon. Record your results and the results given by the simulation.  
b. Examine the structure of the equations you used to determine by what factor the maximum height would change if you doubled the initial speed. Check your thinking by changing the initial speed on the simulation to 16 m/s. Record your results.
Activity 3:
Calculate the ranges for a projectile with an initial speed of 15 m/s shot at a 40° angle and the same projectile shot at a 50° angle. How do the results compare? Use the simulation to check your work. Record your findings. Try the same activity with angles of 25° and 65°. What can be said about firing a projectile at complementary angles?
Activity 4:
Repeat activity 3, this time finding the total horizontal distance traveled when the cannon raised 10 m off the ground. This distance is no longer referred to as the range (because Δy ≠ 0), and you cannot use the range equation to find it. Instead, you simply need to use the basic kinematic equations for projectiles. Compare and contrast your results between activity 4 and activity 3. Explain any differences.

*The "AP" designation is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, products sold on this website.

Powered by Physics Prep LLC.  All rights reserved. ©2012-2024