• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Determining how the height of release affects the velocity of a basketball

Extracts from this document...


Akash Singh                2/15/2011

Physics SL                 Mrs. Trumic

Determining how the height of release affects the velocity of a basketball

Introduction: Velocity can be measured by the formulae of displacement over time. In this experiment we shall see how different heights of release for a basketball, can affect velocity.

Aim: This experiment is directed in the process of discovering how the changes in the variable of height can have an effect on the velocity of a basketball.


  • 1 Basketball
  • 1 Tape ruler
  • 2 Stop-watches
  • 1 hard flat surfaced object
  • Writing instruments


Independent Variable: Is the height from which the ball is released. We shall perform the experiment in this order of 4 measurements: 30, 60, 90, 120 and 150 cm’s.

Dependent Variable: is relied upon changes from the independent variable, and therefore we can identify it as time. The time it takes for the basketball to hit the ground after release, will change due to changes in the height.

Controlled Variable:

  • The same person releasing the ball
  • Air pressure and wind in the room, so it doesn’t affect the aerodynamics
  • The angle from which the ball is released
  • The basketball: so the mass and dynamics of the ball are the same
  • The same person calculating time with the stopwatch


  1. On a straight wall, use the tape ruler, to mark the following heights of release: 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 cm’s with a marker.
...read more.


Average Time (seconds)

1st trial

2nd trial

3rd trial





28.2 ± 9.0





36 ± 17.0





46.7 ± 15.0





54.8 ± 2.0





56.7 ± 7.0


All figures with more than 3 decimal places are shown to a smaller degree but the memory of calculator was used in calculations for the sake of accuracy.

Here I will show the workings for the processed data summarized in the previous table.

To find the average time:

Sum of readings / no. of readings


To find the average time from a release of 30 cm. You take the sum of the readings, which are the results from trials 1, 2, 3; which gives (37+25.5+22) / 3 = 28.2 seconds.

In order to find the uncertainty for the average time we have to use the following process: You take the average time and then you subtract it by the highest time. Additionally you take the average time and subtract it to the lowest time. You take the highest difference in the results and you add that to the uncertainty of the stopwatch which is 0.0005seconds.


Average: 28.2

Higher Uncertainty = 28.2 – 37 = 8.8

Lower Uncertainty = 28.2 – 22 = 6.2

Uncertainty for time of 30 cm’s = 8.8 + 0.0005 = 8.8005

= 9.0 seconds (1.s.f.)

The next step is to calculate the velocity, which can be found by 2 methods. Graphically or using the formula of velocity. We shall first analyze the graphical method:


Is attached at the back of the lab report.

...read more.


To improve I could maybe get two laser gateways, which self time using a computer, when the basketball is released and when it impacts the ground. This is a much more accurate result.

Due to this large uncertainty because of the synchronization, we should’ve also taken a larger number of data so we could have a more accurate overall average. And maybe, more people doing the stop-watch simultaneously which will allow us a more accurate reading.

Additionally there may also have been parallax error, caused when the ball has to be fixed to the wall at the x height. It may have been not precise.

To improve we could get a flat surface and place it exactly at the height. And then place the ball above it. And when you remove it, the ball falls, pentrating the laser and starting of the counter. Giving is us all in all much more accurate results. Although, this may be expensive to encourage.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Physics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Physics essays

  1. Investigate the Size of Craters in Sand Due to Dropped Object.

    Thus, in order to sketch the graph of the volume of craters against height of dropped slotted mass, we can represent the y-axis or volume of craters by using the depth of craters itself. Calculation of the Graph: In order to sketch the graph, we need to find the average or mean of first, second, third and fourth reading.

  2. Bouncing balls. Research question: What is the relation between the height from which ...

    and the height, to better understand the differences between balls. Graph1: Time square taken for two ball to bounce 6 times on the floor Graph2: Time square taken for two ball to bounce 6 times on a table On both graphs there is a clear trend shown, as the graph of each motion is represented by the curve.

  1. In this extended essay, I will be investigating projectile motion via studying the movement ...

    Record the distance between the black spot and the starting point using a zigzag ruler. 13. Repeat steps 7 to 11 but vary the compressed length spring length. The lengths are: 3cm, 4m, 5cm, 6cm, 7cm, 8cm, 9cm and 10cm.

  2. The purpose of this lab is to examine impact craters. Impact craters occur when ...

    Fill the plastic food containers with .500 kilograms of sand. 3. Fill each one with a different amount of water (0 mL, 350 mL, and 700 mL) to represent different surfaces of planets and allow this to sit over two days.

  1. Uncertainties in timing a tennis ball hitting the ground

    These errors can be easily be deciphered on a graph (next page). These errors increase inaccuracies of the final result and therefore the data has to be reduced to a more accurate set of data. The best way to eliminate errors is by downsizing the number of data to the

  2. design of a variable resistor

    If we had looked the ammeter or volt meter from different angles, our results might have been different since it looks different depends on where you look at it from. We looked it straight. 3. There is not any pattern.

  1. How does the mass of a spherical object and the height from which it ...

    Carefully mass each ball. Use a piece of tape to keep each ball stable while they are on the scale. After each ball has been massed, mass the piece of tape and then subtract this from the mass of each object to obtain their real mass.

  2. HL Physics Revision Notes

    reaction have greater binding energy per nucleon when compared with the reactants. Topic 8: Energy, power and climate change: Thermal energy may be completely converted to work in a single process, but that continuous conversion of this energy into work requires a cyclical process and the transfer of some energy from the system.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work