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Falling Objects

Experiment #40 from Physical Science with Vernier


Galileo tried to prove that all falling objects accelerate downward at the same rate. Falling objects do accelerate downward at the same rate in a vacuum. Air resistance, however, can cause objects to fall at different rates in air. Air resistance enables a skydiver’s parachute to slow his or her fall. Because of air resistance, falling objects can reach a maximum velocity or terminal velocity. In this experiment, you will study the velocities of two different falling objects.


In this experiment, you will

  • Use a Motion Detector to measure position and velocity.
  • Produce position vs. time and velocity vs. time graphs.
  • Analyze and explain the results.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #40 of Physical Science with Vernier. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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