Projectile Motion Experiment

Product Code: EX-5502


In this series of experiments, students use a projectile launcher to better understand the kinematics and dynamics of projectile motion. Since measurements for these experiments involve single point measurements of time or velocity, the Smart Timer is the ideal timing instrument.

Muzzle Velocity vs. Time of Flight

Students fire the projectile at three different velocities from the same height. The Photogate and Time-of-Flight Accessory are used to measure the time of flight at each muzzle velocity. Students are surprised to find that time of flight is not related to muzzle velocity at 0˚ launch angle.

Angle vs. Horizontal Range

The angle of launch is varied and the horizontal range is measured for each angle. Students produce a graph of angle vs. horizontal range, and use its equation to find the angle of maximum range. This experiment is conducted in two variations:

  • Projectile is fired from a higher vertical position than its landing position
  • Projectile is fired from the same vertical position as its landing position

Students are asked to use the kinematics equations to predict the horizontal range, given a launch angle and muzzle velocity. Carbon paper and a bullseye can be used to test their hypothesis.

PASCO Advantage: PASCO projectile launchers are designed for repeatable and accurate launches. In addition, photogates and other accessories are designed to work seamlessly with our projectile launchers. These features allow student predictions and calculations from the kinematics equations to be empirically verified.

Designed for use with any of the following

  • 850 Universal Interface
  • 550 Universal Interface with 2 Digital Adapters
  • Any PASPORT interface with 2 ports and 2 Digital Adapters


  • Independence of x- and y-motion
  • Muzzle velocity vs. time of flight
  • Angle vs. horizontal range


What’s Included

Software Required

This product requires PASCO software for data collection and analysis. We recommend the following option(s). For more information on which is right for your classroom, see our Software Comparison: SPARKvue vs. Capstone »

Interface Required

This product requires a PASCO Interface to connect to your computer or device. We recommend the following option(s). For a breakdown of features, capabilities, and additional options, see our Interface Comparison Guide »

Manual Downloads

Product Manuals for the Included Products

Photogate Head Manual (ME-9498A)
(275 KB – .pdf – English)
Photogate Mounting Bracket Manual (ME-6821)
(38 KB – .pdf – English)
Mini Launcher Manual (ME-6825A)
(797 KB – .pdf – English)
Time-of-Flight Accessory Manual (ME-6810)
(344 KB – .pdf – English)
Experiment File
EX-5502 Projectile
(27.4 MB – .zip – English)