Rolling Balls Investigation

Essay by maxcunningham99High School, 10th gradeA+, November 2014

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Rolling Balls Investigation

Research Question

How does the height at which the ball is dropped on the ramp affect the distance travelled horizontally?

Independent Variable

Height the ball was dropped from on the ramp (cm)

Dependent Variable

Distance travelled horizontally from launch point to sand pit (cm)


I believe that the higher the ball is dropped from on the ramp the further the distance will be from the ramp. I believe this due to the law of the conservation of energy. When the ball is dropped from the different heights on the ramp there will be a greater amount of gravitational potential energy higher up the ramp from a distance of 97cm for example than there will be from a distance of 49cm. This can be proven by the formula for gravitational potential energy: mass (g) x gravitational field strength (N/kg) x height (m). For this experiment the mass and the gravitational field strength will stay the same this therefore meaning the higher the ball is released the greater the amount of gravitational potential energy.

Once the ball is released the gravitational potential energy will change to kinetic energy. The kinetic energy will have the same amount of energy as the initial amount of gravitational potential energy, no energy lost and no energy gained. This therefore means that when the ball is dropped from a higher height the ball bearing will have more kinetic energy therefore meaning it will leave the ramp with more speed which should mean that the ball will travel further away from the ramp and into the sand pit.

Based on this scientific explanation I believe that as the height doubles the distance travelled will double to.


Mark out 97cm from the end of the ramp, continue marking out points at 6cm intervals (91cm,