Acceleration Galileo's Inclined Plane

Galileo's Incline plane lab activity for acceleration.

Acceleration: Galileo's Inclined Plane

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. Physics Teacher
Download Teacher Notes and Student Worksheets

Acceleration Track

Conceptual Physics Lab kit. Flexible track approximately two meters in length. A rigid steel track approximately two meters in length. One 1″ steel sphere and one Hot Wheels car.

Acceleration Track Kit is specifically for use with the Conceptual Physics Lab Manual and Arbor Lab #1 Galileo's Incline Plane.


Acceleration Track

In Stock SKU: PX-1001

Burret Clamp

Burret clamp for standard laboratory ring stand.

Buret Clamp

In Stock SKU: 66-8002

250 ml Polypropylene Beaker

250 ml polypropylene plastic Beaker. General use and chemically resistant. Shatter-proof polypropylene labware with easy-to-read gradations are perfect for young scientists!

250ml Polypropylene Beaker

In Stock SKU: 06-3032

Ring Stand Base with Rod

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.

Ring Stand Base with Rod

In Stock SKU: 66-4220

Plastic Funnel (Burette)

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.

Plastic Funnel (Burette)

In Stock SKU: 06-3013

Collin Wassilak

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