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Find the value for 'g'.

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Physics Practical 1

An Investigation To Find The Value For ‘g’.

By Imran Meghji   IB1

Planning A

Research Question:Can we and, if we can, how can we find a value for ‘g’ using a simple pendulum?

Hypothesis: I believe we are able to find a suitable value for ‘g’ using a simple pendulum with laboratory apparatus. I feel that a value between 9.6 and 10.2 will be appropriate.

Variables: The variables involved in the experiment will be:

  • The length of the pendulum. We can have different lengths so as to calculate a more accurate value for ‘g’. This is a controlled variable because it is controlled by us, the students doing the experiment.
  • The time taken for one oscillation. This depends on the length of the pendulum and so varies with the length of the pendulum. However it is an independent variable because the students are not able to control the time taken for one oscillation.
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         Time for 20 oscillations (sec)

Time for 1 oscillation (sec)


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Δl)-( ΔT2)

So the gradient= (25-0)/(1-0)

So the equation becomes: g=4π2(25)

So ‘g’ is calculated to be approximately 986.96 cms-2.

When we divide by 100 to get ‘g’ in ms-2, we get g  9.87 ms-2.


In conclusion, we see that the calculated value of ‘g’ is approximately     9.87 ms-2.

However the textbook value for ‘g’ is 9.80665 ms-2.

The two values are very close and so there may not have been much error.

The procedure was efficient, but could have been made more accurate by involving more lengths e.g. from 10cm to 100cm at intervals of 10cm. Also I could have recorded the time taken for 30 oscillations to obtain further accuracy.

Also instead of drawing a graph, I could have used the equation, g=4π2(l/T2), and substituted the lengths and corresponding times to get different values for ‘g’. Then calculate the average of all the values.

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This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Forces and Motion section.

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