Getting Faster as You Fall


Cameron Pittman, Teacher

School / Organization, City and State / Province
Stratford STEM Magnet High School, Nashville, TN

Grade Level

Standards Met

  • Projectile Motion (PM)
  • Conservation of Energy

Next Generation Science Standards:
HS.PS-E Energy, performance standard (a) Construct and defend models and mathematical representations that show that over time the total energy within an isolated system is constant, including the motion and interactions of matter and radiation within the system
Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and carrying out investigations, Analyzing and interpreting data, Using mathematics and computational thinking, Constructing explanations and designing solutions, Developing and using models

ACT Standards

  • Interpretation of Data – Determine how the value of one variable changes as the value of another variable changes in a simple data presentation (16-19).
  • Scientific Investigation – Understand a complex experimental design (24-27), Determine the experimental conditions that would produce specific results (24-27).
  • Evaluation of Models, etc – Use new information to make a prediction based on a model (28-32).

Time Needed
60 minutes (allow extra time if students share problems with class).


  • Student demonstration of fall height vs horizontal distance covered

Students will have freedom in this lesson to build a puzzle that challenges players to acquire a specific velocity through conservation of energy.


  • Gravity
  • Conservation of Energy
  • Projectile Motion
  • Kinetic Energy
  • Potential Energy
  • Velocity
  • Acceleration

Student Prerequisites
Conservation of energy, projectile motion (knowledge of PM, not necessarily the math behind it), some knowledge of graphing in Microsoft Excel (or similar spreadsheet program).

Teacher Materials Needed

Student Materials Needed
Microsoft Excel.

Lesson Plan
Download Getting Faster as You Fall