AP Physics 1‎ > ‎Unit 1‎ > ‎

Force Gravity Bucket Lab

Force Gravity Bucket Lab


In this activity you will be examining the relationships that affect the force of gravity on a sample of material in a bucket.


Feature of Logger Pro you need to use:

  • Set Data Collection Options allows you to set the length of time you will collect data and the number of samples you will collect per second.

  • Zero:  Set the reading on your probe to zero.  This should be done right before you attach something to the probe.

  • Collect Data:  Starts the data collection.  The data collection will stop automatically at the end of the time you specified in the data collection options.

Part 1: Live Part (Water)

  1. Hook your force probe into channel 1 and put 250 mL of water into your bucket.  

  2. Open up Logger Pro on your computer and make sure your force probe has registered.

  3. Set your data collection to run for 2o seconds and collect data at a rate of 1000 samples per second.

  4. Hold the force probe vertical and stable and then click on the zero button to set the force reading to zero.

  5. Start collecting data and make sure the reading starts out on zero.  Then hook the bucket onto the force probe and try to get as steady a reading as possible.  Your graph should look like the one shown below:

  6. Highlight the region where the bucket is hanging stably from the force probe and then go to the "Analyze" menu and pick "Statistics".  The mean value will be the average force on the bucket and that is obviously what you want to record.

  7. Now would be a good time to make a data table that records the volume of material in the bucket and the force of gravity on the bucket.

  8. Remove the bucket from the force probe and fill it to the 500 mL mark and repeat the previous procedure.  Continue this process for each 250 mL increment until you reach the 2 L mark.

  9. Remove the force probe from Logger Pro and create a a graph of Force vs. Volume.  Save this Logger Pro file onto your computer's desktop so you can add to this graph for other parts of this lab.

  10. Use the slope of your graph to find the density of the material in the bucket and the y-intercept of your graph to find the mass of the bucket.

Part 2: Live or Virtual (Sand)

  1. Dry out your bucket completely and then use sand instead of water in the bucket.

  2. When you are done with this part, reopen your graph from part 1 and add a new data set for your data for part 2.

  3. When you have both graphs visible on Logger Pro, copy this graph and the equations into your lab book.

Part 3:  Changing Planet

  1. Open the program found here.

  2. Change from the earth to some other planet.

  3. Repeat part one (filling the bucket with water) but on this new planet.

  4. Create a new data set in the Logger Pro file that you made for part 1.  Display the graph for part 1 and part 3 simultaneously and copy this graph into your lab book.