In Galileo's time, stopwatches had not been invented. He needed a way to measure the short time it took for a ball to roll down an incline. The set-up you will use is nearly identical to what Galileo would have used. Just like Galileo, students will measure the time it takes for a ball to roll down an incline by the amount of water released during the roll. We will use this time measurement to calculate the acceleration of the ball at different heights and compare them.
The lab can be easily modified to use a regular stopwatch for timing. It is less authentic, but the results are the same.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to Dwight "Buzz" Putnam for his assistance in developing this lab. Buzz is a 25 year veteran physics teacher at Whitesboro High School, New York Science Teacher of the Year and Host of the Regents Physics Answerstelevision show on PBS. You can also find him refereeing high school basketball games as well as presenting at the NSTA National Conferences.