Details for the Galileo Lab Report

Note, if you are using a Mac, you might want to send me a PDF instead of a MS Word File, so the graphics are properly embedded.

You should have read the general guidelines for the lab report on this conference.  Some details to consider.   This is the bare minimum of what you should include.  This will be briefer than a normal lab report because the theory is pretty simple.

Abstract

Summarize the entire lab in 3-5 sentences. Mention what happened.  Mention what result you got for acceleration and any percent errors.   It is common to write the abstract last, after you have said all you want to in the rest of the lab report.

Introduction

Explain the following concepts: Acceleration, velocity, gravity.
Explain/derive the following equations:   d=(1/2)gt2,     look in the endnote on p 43 of your text
Add any interesting historical connections to the theories/this experiment (hint Galileo)
Explain, using the theory of inertia and Newton’s 2nd Law and the formula for weight why the acceleration is the same for all objects.
Although not required for the rough draft, you could go so far as to show where the number 9.8 comes from.  But this should be included in the final draft.  This uses Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation which is in the readings.   Using the primary sources, you will probably have citations and will need to use footnotes.

Procedure

Include diagrams/sketches/pictures. They may be hand drawn and scanned in, or you may use digital photographs of the equipment, or drawn with software such as COREL Draw.  Make sure you give photo-credits if you did not take the pictures.
Mention all the equipment (do not list the equipment).  Describe what happened, the total procedure.  Use 1st person plural past tense.  Note, graphing the data is not considered part of your procedure, this is analysis.

Results and analysis

Present your data.  Present your graphs, which should have the equation of the line on it.
Explain the connection between the equation on your graph, and what theory predicted.
So what is the actual acceleration of your object?
Calculate percent error.  Explain the reasons for any errors.  Don’t say “human error.”

Conclusion

Summarize everything.  Include proposals for future experiments.  How could the experiment be improved if you had more time and funding? Different ways to measure. Other instruments?  In what ways could you have eliminated the sources of error you listed in the Results and Analysis section?

Appendix

You need to have a bibliography.  You must use one primary source.  I will try to put some sources on reserve in Mugar.  You will probably use your textbooks, which are secondary sources.  Asimov’s Understanding Physics would also count as a secondary source.   You can include sketches, tables and graphs here, if you chose not to insert them into the middle of your paper.