MIT Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Free Fall

John Bookston
Math Teacher
Arlington High School
Arlington, MA
Member: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
Board Member: Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Massachusetts (ATMIM)

This video lesson is an example of "teaching for understanding" in lieu of providing students with formulas for determining the height of a dropped (or projected) object at any time during its fall. The concept presented here of creating a chart to organize and analyze data collected in a simple experiment is broadly useful. During the classroom breaks in this video, students will enjoy timing objects in free fall and balls rolling down ramps as a way of learning how to carefully conduct experiments and analyze the results. The beauty of this lesson is the simplicity of using only the time it takes for an object dropped from a measured height to strike the ground. There are no math prerequisites for this lesson and no needed supplies, other than a blackboard and chalk. It can be completed in one 50-60-minute classroom period.

John has taught mathematics for 25 years at the high school level, in and around Boston. He has been published in the ATMIM newsletter (www.atmim.net) and has presented the Free Fall lesson at an ATMIM conference.

A lesson with animation on Free Fall from The Physics Classroom website.
http://www.physicsclassroom.com/mmedia/newtlaws/efff.cfm

An interactive JAVA applet on Free Fall from the University of Oregon Department of Physics.
http://jersey.uoregon.edu/vlab/index.html

This is the site for NASA's new Moonbase Alpha Learning Game. The cornerstone of NASA's Learning Technology research and development is combining advanced educational technologies with NASA content, to produce learning tools that engage and inspire today’s tech-savvy students.
http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/ltp/games/moonbasealpha/index.html

Title Language Format  
Free Fall (English, QuickTime) English Quicktime Download
Free Fall (Portuguese Subtitles, mp4) English-Portuguese SubtitlesEnglish-Portuguese Subtitles MPEG 4 Download

HI MR. BOOKSTON. I WATCHED

Anonymous
April 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm

HI MR. BOOKSTON. I WATCHED THE VIDEO

I do not believe that our

emurray
January 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I do not believe that our rating system is currently working accurately.

I was very surprised to see

Anonymous
January 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I was very surprised to see the high score that this received for maintaining student interest. This is a dry, straight-forward lecture, nothing more. There is an attempt at a real-world application that is not very real-world. Otherwise, it's just watching the teacher perform calculations on the board. Not very exciting.

Add A Comment
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

This Lesson is in the following clusters: Newtonian Physics

HI MR. BOOKSTON. I WATCHED

Anonymous
April 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm

HI MR. BOOKSTON. I WATCHED THE VIDEO

I do not believe that our

emurray
January 5, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I do not believe that our rating system is currently working accurately.

I was very surprised to see

Anonymous
January 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm

I was very surprised to see the high score that this received for maintaining student interest. This is a dry, straight-forward lecture, nothing more. There is an attempt at a real-world application that is not very real-world. Otherwise, it's just watching the teacher perform calculations on the board. Not very exciting.