Physics lab on horizontal projectile motion using angry birds
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Physics Lab on Horizontal Projectile Motion using Angry Birds. For: Grades 10-12 Erik Mahal 2 Class Lab. Content and Standards. 3.4.12.C Analyze the principles of translational motion, velocity and acceleration as they relate to free fall and projectile motion .

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Physics Lab on Horizontal Projectile Motion using Angry Birds

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Physics Lab on Horizontal Projectile Motion using Angry Birds

For: Grades 10-12

Erik Mahal

2 Class Lab

Content and Standards

  • 3.4.12.C

    • Analyze the principles of translational

      motion, velocity and acceleration as they

      relate to free fall and projectile motion.

    • Analyze the principles of rotational

      motion to solve problems relating to

      angular momentum, and torque.

Content and Standards

1. Creativity and Innovation

Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. c. use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues.

d. identify trends and forecast possibilities.

2. Research and Information Fluency

Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:

c. evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.

d. process data and report results.


Students need a clear understanding of horizontal projectile motion and vectors in Physics.

This lab should be taught half way through the chapter of projectile motion so students are familiar with needed equations.

Students should be comfortable with percent error equations and be able to reflect on what their results mean

Instructional Objective

Correctly calculate the flight path (ΔX) of an object using a horizontal angle with given velocity and mass of the object.

Instructional Procedure (Before)

The Students will be given a lesson on basic projectile motion and how to calculate the ΔX using given angles of zero, speeds and masses of an angry bird.

They must use these formulas to calculate the horizontal displacement of the angry bird

Instructional Procedure During

The Students will have a screen shot of the angry bird’s game. They then must calculate how far the bird will travel with a given velocity and mass if it is shot from a horizontal angle.

The students must show their work and provide and hypothesis of a distance they believe their bird will travel.

Each student will have a different bird, which will have different masses and in turn velocities so each group will have different answers.

Instructional Procedure (After)

After they provide their hypothesis, they can go online and use the game to test their hypothesis.

Once the students see how far the bird actually travels in the game, they can calculate their percent error

Then see where (if) they made mistakes in their calculations.

Students will than write a lab report discussing their results and what was difficult or too easy during the lab.

Materials and Equipment

  • Scientific Calculators for each group of students

  • A pencil and paper with a formula sheet

  • A computer with web access

    • with a game site unblocked from the school proxy so the students can access the game to run the test

Assessment and Evaluation

The students will be partly graded on their percent error from the calculations from the screenshot and the actual recorded distance in the game. (%60)

The other part of their grade will be a lab report in which they will reflect on what they learned and how the exercise helped them understand horizontal projectile motion. (40%)

As this is a high school level lab, the accuracy of their calculations will carry more of the grade than the lab report.


  • For students with IEP’s or ELL’s they will be split up strategically so no two students with learning disabilities are in the same group.

  • Special attention will be given to them during the experiment in case their disabilities makes it difficult to use a computer mouse with the precision needed to achieve a horizontal angle.

  • Gifted Students

    • Gifted or exceeding brilliant students can also go on to calculate other angles past that of horizontal projectile motion, with different launch angles.


This lab calls for students in groups of 3 to have access to a computer.

A scientific calculator such as TI-80 and above will also be used in order to ease calculations

Self Assessment

I can see by the calculated percent error’s from the students lab reports if I taught them the equations and explained the presented material thoroughly enough

From the lab reports I can also see what the students found difficult or even too easy from the lab, and make changes for the next time I run the lab

Supplement to other Classes

Projectile Motion in physics can be taught along side another topic in a different class very easily. The lab could be done during a time where the students are learning about trebuchets or medieval warfare that also use projectile motion.

I could also show modern day examples of projectile motion such as the punkin’ chunkin’ in the Midwest.

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