In Experiment 1, Motion on an Incline, you may have noticed that the slope of the v-t graph, which we call acceleration, increased as the height of the ramp increased. It seems reasonable that the maximum value of the acceleration could be obtained when the ramp was in a vertical position. In this experiment, you will use different apparatus to determine the acceleration of a freely falling object. Once you have done this, you will address the following questions:

  • How do I decide if the value I obtained is “close enough” to the accepted value?
  • If I were to repeat the experiment several times, within what range would I expect my values to fall?

This experiment affords you the opportunity to understand variations in experimentally determined data.


In this experiment, you will

  • Determine the value of the acceleration of a freely falling object.
  • Compare your value with the accepted value for this quantity.
  • Learn how to describe and account for variation in a set of measurements.
  • Learn how to describe a range of experimental values.