University of Virginia
Physics Department

Experimental Design

A Physical Science Activity

Student Activity

Materials (for each lab group)

 

Procedure

  1. Use the ruler to place the two stacks of books 10 cm apart.
  2. Gently hang the cup from one strand of spaghetti.
  3. Place the spaghetti on top of the books to form a bridge.  The cup should be hanging down between the stacks of books like a bucket.
  4. One at a time, add pennies to the cup until the spaghetti breaks.
  5. Record the number of pennies needed to break the spaghetti in Data Table 1.
  6. Repeat this procedure 2 times and record the number of  pennies in the data table.
  7. Now use the ruler to place the stacks of books 15 cm apart.
  8. Repeat the above procedure three times and record the number of pennies in the data table.
  9. Finally, use the ruler to place the stacks of books 20 cm apart.
  10. Repeat the above procedure three times and record the number of pennies in the data table.
  11. Cleanup - be sure that all pieces of spaghetti are placed in the trash can - not in the sinks or on the floor! ! !

Data Sheet

 

Distance Between Books
Number of Pennies Required to Break Spaghetti
Trial #1
Trial #2
Trial #3
Average
10 cm
 
 
 
 
15 cm
 
 
 
 
20 cm
 
 
 
 

 

 

Experimental Design

Fill in the following:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment

 

  1. Make a statement about how the distance between the stacks of books affects the number of pennies needed to break the spaghetti.




  2. Why did you do three trials and find the average?




  3. Why is it important to use the same type of spaghetti for each trial?




  4. Why are constants important in an experiment?