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Throwing Balls and Trajectory: Weekly Family Science Activity

How do you throw a ball farthest? Sports science family STEM activity.

In this week's spotlight: a physics-focused family sports science activity that may make a difference in your next game of catch! At what angle should you throw a ball if you want it to go as far as possible? This week's sports science activity helps students observe and quantify the relationship between launch angle and distance by getting outside, throwing balls with different trajectories, and seeing how far they go. What happens when you throw a ball very high, very straight, or with a variable launch angle? What happens to how far the ball goes? What happens to how fast the ball arrives at its landing spot?

The family science variation of this experiment is a low-tech activity families can enjoy at the park with a baseball, football, or other ball. Kids and parents can experiment with throwing a ball at various angles and measuring to see how distance changes with different launch angles. The independent student science project version is a more advanced science investigation that guides students in an in-depth exploration that involves detailed studies of video footage taken during testing.

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