Long ago (2007) Bryan Cooley and I wrote a set of physics labs; in one of them we had students bounce a ping-pong ball. You know the sound; it’s like this:
For the lab, we had students record the sound at 1000 points per second using a Vernier microphone. Using the resulting data, students could identify the times of the “pocks” and then see how the times between the pocks — the “interpock intervals” — decreased exponentially. This is a cool take on the old Algebra 2/Precalculus activity about bouncing balls where you measure drop heights; using sound and the technology, you can get more bounces and more accuracy.
A typical graph of the sound looks like this:
And a graph of the interpock intervals looks like this:Continue reading Ping Pong Ball Bounce Redux