Modeling a Bouncing Ball


Type: Investigation

Theme: Modeling

Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Learning Target: Students will model the functions behind a bouncing ball by plotting time versus height and regressing the data.


This project is for groups of two. 

  1. Take a video of a ball bouncing with a meter stick installed vertically for measurement (meter preferred). If you use a slow motion camera, you will need to adjust your time data accordingly.
  2. Use a spreadsheet to record two columns (time and vertical distance from zero). Zero is the ground surface. Use Desmos or paper.
  3. Graph each of the three tables of data, one for each bounce (x-axis is time, y-axis is height).
  4. Regress the data to show an equation for each bounce (see example). If using paper, estimate parabolas for each graph.
  5. Question: Make a list of the physical forces which affect a bouncing ball (include a diagram).
  6. High school students will model a bouncing ball with Desmos, or
  7. Take photos of your group working together.
  8. Obtain and provide a Peer Review.


Submit as PowerPoint or Word Document (do not include video).

  1. Data and graph for three bounces of same ball
  2. Response to question
  3. Peer Review


Exit Ticket
CCSS Math Practice
  • I can construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts
  • Systems and System Models
  • Stability and Change