To see the effect of speed on arc shape.
Ruler, marble, horizontal table
Hold the end of the ruler up to three different
angles. Repeatedly roll the ball down the ruler until you can draw
the path the ball takes for each height. (Make sure the marble does
not bounce when it leaves the table.) Write your data down for
each trial in the data table below.
Draw the path the ball takes on the grid on the next page for each
The drawn path represents the shape of a free fall roller coaster
hill for different coaster car velocities.
1 Which ramp angle gives the ball the greatest speed when it
leaves the table?
2 What conclusions can you make about how speed over the top of a
hill affects the shape of the hill?
Below are three different starting heights for a hill. For each
starting height, rate the hills shape as:
(1) Possible optimum hill. The ball will be in free fall the
longest period of time and the ball would softly be caught at the
(2) Safe hill. The ball stays on the hill but does not remain
in free fall for the maximum amount of time.
(3) Unsafe hill. The ball will leave the track and possibly
hit the other side of the track.
If you use or find this page useful or have any
comments, please contact the author so maybe he'll do more.
Author: Tony Wayne
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