Toilet Paper Roll Drop 2012

The challenge:

Students had to calculate the ratio and then test their prediction by dropping the toilet paper rolls.

One group used rotational and translational dynamics.

Two other groups used energy conservation.

All 3 groups got the same ratio. But was it correct? Here’s the video from this year’s drop:

You can read about last year’s drop here.

6 responses to “Toilet Paper Roll Drop 2012

  1. Thank you Frank for sharing the toilet paper drop. I think that I can still work it into this years curriculum, It will be a fun learning challenge for my AP physics students.

  2. A great post and a great problem.

    I would be interested to see how they responded if they also had to predict (before doing any calculations) which of the two rolls needed to start closer to the ground for them to land at the same time.

    Depending on which of the two approaches they used to think about the problem, their explanations for this first question could be completely different yet both correct.

  3. Great activity! Thanks for sharing the idea and your students’ results.

  4. We added this activity this year and I think it was a success. We were able to approach it from two different ways and it gave the kids a great review opportunity on concepts we hadn’t been talking about for a while. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Pingback: Semester 2 – Day 29 | Physics Day by Day

  6. in the 2nd picture of sample calculations, how did the group find the acceleration? It seems to appear out of nowhere

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