1. List some observations that led people of Galileo’s time to believe that heavier objects fall faster than lighter objects. Give some real thought as to why people would think this.
2. Drop a small and a large object from the same height at the same time. Very carefully determine if the larger one hit first, last, or at the same time? Describe what you actually saw.
3. Now try again simultaneously dropping two objects, but this time start the small object about 30 cm above the larger one.
- Based on what you observe, does the distance between the two objects increase, decrease, or remain the same as they fall?
- What is expected to happen? Explain using Galileo’s assumption of constant acceleration.
With dropping objects, the time is very short and so it's hard to tell just what happens by eye. If you do these simple experiments critically, you may see why Galileo and the people of his day had a difficult time answering the questions of motion.
Extra (no mark for this): Guess as to what will happen when rolling balls of different size and mass down an incline. Will they all have the same acceleration? Explain why you think this.