NCSI Talks


Projectile Motion

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Projectile Motion Model

What is this model?

Most high school physics classes will cover projectile motion, but few proceed to calculate the force of air resistance and its effect on the path that the object takes in the air. This model factors in the extra variable of drag and displays the displacement, momentum, and net force over time. Initially, the force is constant, the momentum decreases linearly, and the displacement over time is parabolic. Students will find that they can manipulate the shapes of the graph by increasing the drag, mass, and initial momentum. This model attempts to lead students one step farther using calculus to extend the ideas of physics.

What can this Model be used to teach?

  • Understand the concept of terminal velocity and its asymptotic relationship to velocity
  • Understand the effect of drag on projectile motion
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