Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Gravitation on Earth

Figure from experiment 3 from Physics Explorations and Projects


The goal of this activity is for students to determine that objects in free fall on Earth experience an acceleration of 9.8 m/s2 and that the force of gravity acts on all objects on Earth at a ratio of 9.8 N of force for every kilogram of mass.

In the Preliminary Observations, students observe falling objects and hold and/or lift similarly-shaped objects of different mass.

During their investigations, students should determine that objects without appreciable air resistance fall at 9.8 m/s2 regardless of mass and that for every kilogram of mass, gravity pulls with an additional 9.8 N of force.

You may choose to have half the lab groups perform one investigation and half perform the other investigation, or choose to have all groups do both parts.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify variables, design and perform investigations, collect and analyze data, draw a conclusion.
  • Relate acceleration of gravity on Earth (g) and gravitational field strength on earth.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS2.A Forces and Motion
  • PS2.B Types of Interactions

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Science models, laws, mechanisms, and theories explain natural phenomena

Experiment 3 from Physics Explorations and Projects Lab Book

<i>Physics Explorations and Projects</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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