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.
Required Equipment Inclined Plane, Ball, Burette, Burette Clamp, Ring Stand, beaker, funnel, water
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.
Heavy cast iron base with a black finish is 5″ x 8″ (130mm x 200mm) and has a threaded hole for the accompanying rod. Plated steel rod is 20″ in length and 3/8″ (9mm) in diameter. It is threaded at one end and rounded at the other. Includes a hex nut to help lock the rod to the base.
Polypropylene plastic funnel has an inside diameter of 75mm at the top with a stem length of 40mm and is ribbed to prevent air locks. The standard stem has a 60 degree angle at the bottom and an outside diameter of 7mm. This funnel is the perfect size to be used with experiments involving Burettes.