A Fun Free-fall Puzzle
One puzzle I have enjoyed thinking about despite its “school-science” feel is this one:
Three identical balls are thrown three different ways from the 3rd story balcony of a building. Air resistance is negligible.
The first ball is thrown vertically upward
The second ball is dropped
The third toss is thrown vertically downward with same speed as the first ball
For each ball, consider only the stretch of time between when that ball leaves the hand and just before it hits the ground:
Part 1: Rank the change in speed
Part 2: Rank the change in velocity
Part 3: Rank the change in kinetic energy
If you are really looking to test some students on their understanding of the difference between speed, velocity, and kinetic energy, this one should do the trick.