Featured in PASCO’s Advanced Physics Teacher Guide

Advanced Physics Teacher Guide


This manual features over 30 College Board curriculum and AP Physics exam inspired lab activities.

Projectiles - 2-D Motion

Lab Summary

Use a photogate to determine the initial velocity and then use this data plus initial height to predict the range of a projectile.


Projectiles are practical examples of two-dimensional motion. A common question found on AP Physics and other standardized exams is one involving the two-dimensional motion of an object launched horizontally. In this experiment, students predict the horizontal range of a ball launched horizontally from a measured height, a measured initial velocity, and a given value for the acceleration due to gravity.

  • Use measured values for launch height and initial velocity to predict the horizontal range of a projectile.
  • Establish a foundational understanding of the kinematic equations associated with the path of a projectile in two-dimensions.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Launching the ball horizontally, so that it passes through two photogates as it leaves the barrel of the launcher.
  • Measuring the launch height and initial velocity of the steel ball.
  • Predicting a horizontal range using the measured data.
  • Relaunching the ball and allowing it to strike the floor.
  • Comparing the predicted and experimental ranges.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Digital Adapter


The Digital Adapter allows ScienceWorkshop analog sensors to be connected and used with PASPORT interfaces.

Mini Launcher


Launch metal spheres up to 2 m with highly repeatable results.

Large Table Clamp


Can attach to tables, shelves, or other boards up to 10 cm thick.

45 cm Stainless Steel Rod


Non-threaded and non-magnetic lab rod.

Accessory Photogate


Includes a Photogate Head and Photogate Stand for flexible experiment design. The Photogate Stand is also sold separately.

Photogate Mounting Bracket


This bracket mounts one or two Photogate Heads or a Smart Gate on any PASCO Projectile Launcher.

Materials Used:

Carbon paper - 1 sheet
Meter Stick

The Associated Bundle:

Advanced Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


This bundle contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Advanced Physics lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.