Probability
UK Secondary (7-11)
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Rolling ball experiment (Investigation)
Lesson

How Long Will It Take?

Suppose you are trying to determine whether the weight of the ball, the height or length of the ramp will affect the amount of time it'll take for a ball to roll down a ramp.

 
 
 
Questions
  1. Which of these variables do you think will affect the amount of time it'll take for the ball to roll down the ramp?
  2. How do you think the time will be affected by each variable?

 

 
 
Activity

Materials:

  • Timer
  • Rulers
  • Same-sized balls of 3 different weights
  • Books or wooden blocks for stacking

If possible, an alternative is to borrow something like this from the science department:

Goal: To identify which of the three variables affects the amount of time

Create a two-way table to organize your data. An example of a possible two-way table is:

 

You would duplicate this two-way table two more times to take into account the three different heights.

The times you enter in the table on the left will be the results of the experiment where the height of the ramp remained constant.

 

 
 
 
Discussion Questions

Based on your experiment:

  1. Which variable(s) affected the time it took for the ball to roll down the ramp?
  2. What conclusions can you make about how the variable(s) affected the time it took for the ball to roll down the ramp?

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