Welcome to practical physicsPracticle physics - practical activities designed for use in the classroom with 11 to 19 year olds

Components of motion

Forces and their effects can be superimposed. The path of any projectile combines horizontal constant speed with vertical acceleration due to gravity. As Galileo showed, the independence of vertical and horizontal motions provides a route to simple analysis. But the independence of these two motions is counterintuitive. Only careful teaching, combined with demonstration experiments, will convince students.


A toy car with two motions

Independence of vertical and horizontal motions

Testing projectile motion with a drawn parabola

Multiflash photographs of projectiles

The 'apple and arrow' experiment

Water jet through rings

Estimate of acceleration due to gravity using pulsed water drops

The ‘monkey-and-hunter’ experiment

Related Guidance

Multiflash photography

Classroom management in semi-darkness

Two dimensional motion