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Physical Education - 8th

Exploring the Science of Sports: The Physics of Projectile Motion

Learning Outcomes:

  • Students will understand the concept of projectile motion and its application in sports.
  • Students will be able to calculate the horizontal and vertical components of projectile motion.
  • Students will analyze the factors that affect the trajectory of a projectile.


This activity will involve a combination of theoretical understanding, hands-on experimentation, and data analysis.


  • Textbooks or online resources on projectile motion
  • Whiteboard or blackboard
  • Markers or chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Stopwatch
  • Various sports balls (e.g., tennis ball, basketball, soccer ball)


  1. Begin the activity by introducing the concept of projectile motion and its relevance in sports. Discuss examples of sports where projectile motion is involved, such as basketball, soccer, and javelin throw.
  2. Explain the components of projectile motion: horizontal motion and vertical motion. Use diagrams and real-life examples to illustrate these concepts.
  3. Divide the students into small groups and provide each group with a different sports ball.
  4. Ask each group to measure and record the mass of their sports ball.
  5. Instruct the groups to find an open area, such as the school playground or gymnasium, where they can safely perform the experiment.
  6. Have the groups set up a target at a known distance from their starting point.
  7. Ask each group to take turns launching their sports ball towards the target, while another group member measures the horizontal distance traveled.
  8. Using the measured data, have the groups calculate the initial velocity, time of flight, and maximum height reached by their sports ball.
  9. After the calculations, gather the groups together and discuss the factors that influenced the trajectory of their sports balls. Encourage them to consider variables such as angle of launch, initial velocity, and air resistance.
  10. Conclude the activity by having each group present their findings and discuss the relationship between projectile motion and sports performance.


To assess the students' understanding, you can:

  • Collect and review the measurements and calculations made by each group.
  • Ask the students to write a reflection on the activity, highlighting the key concepts they learned and how they relate to real-life sports.
  • Conduct a class discussion where students can share their observations and insights from the experiment.

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4 months ago
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.Math.Content.8.EE.B.6

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