Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Energy of a Tossed Ball

Figure from experiment 16 from Physics with Vernier


When a juggler tosses a bean ball straight upward, the ball slows down until it reaches the top of its path and then speeds up on its way back down. In terms of energy, when the ball is released it has kinetic energy, KE. As it rises during its free-fall phase it slows down, loses kinetic energy, and gains gravitational potential energy, PE. As it starts down, still in free fall, the stored gravitational potential energy is converted back into kinetic energy as the object falls.

If there is no work done by frictional forces, the total energy remains constant. In this experiment, we will see if this is true for the toss of a ball. We will study these energy changes using a Motion Detector.


  • Measure the change in the kinetic and potential energies as a ball moves in free fall.
  • See how the total energy of the ball changes during free fall.

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?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Physics with Vernier »

Experiment 16 from Physics with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Physics with Vernier</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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