Rolling Spheres on Inclined Planes

Kenneth Guzik O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy
6024 W. Warwick Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60634
(312) 534-3640

Objectives:

The students will be able to determine the distance of a sphere rolling down an
inclined plane and discover that inclined planes make work easier.

Materials needed:

4 meter sticks, 1 2.5 cm. steel sphere, 1 metal incline (120 cm. long), 1 short
wooden incline (30 cm. long), 4 wooden blocks (4 cm. high) and masking tape

Strategy:

Review what is a simple machine and the types of simple machines. Demonstrate
the procedure as follows:

Place the short incline end-to-end with the metal incline, with the short
incline on your left.

Place two blocks under the outer end of each incline so that the two inclines
look like slides that meet at the bottom.

Tape a meter stick along both sides of the short incline extending from the
vertex. Do the same with the metal incline.

Release (do not push) the steel sphere with your fingertip at the 6 cm. mark on
the short incline (D1).

Have your partner locate the top point where the sphere rolled and record the
number of centimeters the sphere traveled up the metal incline under Trial 1 for
D2 on Table 1 of the Data Sheet.

Repeat the procedure to record Trial 2 and Trial 3 from 6 cm.

Calculate and record the average of the three trials under Average.

(See the data table on the next page.)

Repeat the same procedure from 12 cm. and 18 cm. to complete the table.

Data Table | D1 | D2 (cm.) | | (cm.)| Trial 1 | Trial 2 | Trial 3 | Average | | | | | | | | 6 | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | 12 | | | | | | | | | | |
| | | | | |
| 18 | | | | |
| | | | | |

Conclusion:

The students should notice that as D1 increases D2 will also increase.

Return to Physics Index