The ticker tape timer works by making dots on a paper tape at equal time intervals (approximately every 0.1s in this experiment). It is an excellent way for beginning physics students to experience the measurement of motion. Students will record and graph the motion of a car that moves with constant acceleration. Results of this lab are typically very good. The velocity vs. time graph will be a straight line with positive slope, where the slope is equal to the car's acceleration. The position vs. time graph will be a parabola.
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.