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L117. The Bouncing Ball: A Challenge Lab

This is your first lab where the method of acheiving the goal is for you to determine. Use the physics that you've learned in addition to the skills of analysis that you've acquired to complete the challenge. You'll work with a small group of students to devise and implement a method of solution.


To determine the diameter of a bouncing ball


  1. Download this video clip and save to your computer.
  2. Open Logger Pro and insert the video. Save the file with the name L117-lastnamefirstinitial.cmbl.

 Notes about the video clip

  • The motion does not appear smooth, because the ball was illuminated by a light flashing at a constant rate of 20.0 s-1.
  • The table on which the ball bounces is not visible. However, the ball's reflection from the table can be seen when the ball is near the table.
  • The table on which the ball bounces is horizontal.
  • The plane of the ball's motion is vertical and is also parallel to the film plane of the camera.
  • We assume that the vertical acceleration of the ball has a magnitude of 9.80 m/s2.

 The Problem

The diameter of the ball is unknown. Work within your group to devise a strategy to determine the value of the diameter as accurately as possible. In solving the problem, use what you already know about projectile motion to investigate the motion of the bouncing ball. At first glance, it will seem as if insufficient information is given, as the scale of the video is not given and the surface on which the ball bounces cannot be seen. All students must contribute to this discussion.

 Data and Analysis

While the group will decide on a strategy for solution, each student will carry out the method. Do all work in Logger Pro. Discussion between group members should be continued as analysis progresses.

 Description of Method

As part of your Logger Pro file, include a description in paragraph form of the method of solution. This should be sufficiently clear that another student could follow your instructions and repeat the analysis. Groups may be called on in a WebEx session to describe their methods and results.

 Submitting your work

Submit your file to the WebAssign assessment L117.

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