Ball Drop Experiment
by MaryBeth Weier

Objectives:  Students will collect data from bouncing balls.
                    Students will graph their data.
                    Students will find the slope and equation of best-fit line for their data.
                    Students will verify their calculations using the graphing calculator.

Materials:  “Ball Drop Experiment” activity sheet
                    Balls that bounce well. (Tennis, golf, basketball, rubber ball)
                    Tape measures
                    Masking tape
                    Graphing calculator


1.  In groups of three, students drop one ball from eight different heights and record the bounce height (to the nearest centimeter) for each drop.

2.  Repeat the experiment using a different ball but dropping from the same heights as in step 1.

3. Graph bounce height vs. drop height for each ball and draw the best-fit line for each ball. Students should have two lines on their graph.

4. Chose two points on each line and find the slope and equation of the best-fit line for each ball.

5.  Enter the data into the lists of the graphing calculator with drop heights in L1, bounce heights for ball #1 in L2, and bounce heights for ball #2 in L3.

6.  Create a scatter plot of the data on the calculator and use the STATCALC menu to find the regression equation.  Show the teacher the scatter plot and the equation. Compare the calculator equation with the equation calculated by hand.

7.  Answer the questions on the Ball Drop Experiment activity sheet.