Watch It Fly

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Learners observe projectile motion by launching wooden balls off of a table top. They set up a rubber-band launcher so that each ball experiences a consistent amount of force. Learners vary the amount of force to see if the speed the ball moves horizontally affects its falling rate. Learners can also use differently sized balls to test this variable in the experiment. This activity starts on p.37 of the manual. This manual contains 4 activities related to the Spectra's Force comic book published by the American Physical Society.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Projectile Motion
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data

Informal Categories

  • Literature


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Thompson, Rebecca ; Johnson, Kerry G. ; Ellis, David ; Bennett-Karasik, Nancy


  • All rights reserved, American Physical Society, 2011