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published by the PhET
In this simulation, students can fire various objects out of a cannon, including a golf ball, football, pumpkin, human being, a piano, and a car.  By manipulating angle, initial speed, mass, and air resistance, concepts of projectile motion come to light in a fun and game-like environment. Can you set the initial conditions so that you hit the target?

This item is part of a larger collection of interactive simulations developed by the Physics Education Technology project (PhET), all freely available from the PhET web site for incorporation into classes.
Editor's Note: See Related Materials for editor-recommended lessons to accompany this simulation. The first, "Air Resistance Lesson", is appropriate for middle school and includes scripted teacher discussion, content support, vocabulary lists, and modifiable worksheets. The second and third were developed for high school use and introduce basic trajectory and gravity with air resistance. All three lessons help learners stay on track as they use the PhET Projectile Motion simulation.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Applications of Newton's Laws
- Motion in Two Dimensions
= Projectile Motion
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
  • Currently 4.7/5

Rated 4.7 stars by 3 people

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Intended Users:
Access Rights:
Free access
Additional information is available.
2d motion, acceleration, ballistic motion, gravity, interactive multimedia, kinematics, projectile motion
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 7, 2006 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 18, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 3, 2006
Other Collections:


Author: Jennifer Broekman
Posted: January 20, 2008 at 1:44PM

But perhaps more useful if there were a numerical way to edit the firing angle.

» reply

Job well done

Author: Alex Ojinta
Posted: February 2, 2011 at 9:53PM
Source: The PSRC collection

Really apreciate its helps in explainig diagramaticaly

» reply

Post a new comment on this item

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (6-8)
  • Newton's second law accurately predicts changes in the motion of macroscopic objects. (9-12)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (3-12)
  • Algebraic thinking is used to examine scientific data and predict the effect of a change in one variable on another (e.g., linear growth vs. exponential growth). (9-12)
Systems and System Models (K-12)
  • Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions. (6-8)
  • When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined. (9-12)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
    • Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (6-8)
  • Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
    • Use a model to provide mechanistic accounts of phenomena. (9-12)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.
  • 9-12: 11B/H1a. A mathematical model uses rules and relationships to describe and predict objects and events in the real world.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

High School — Algebra (9-12)

Seeing Structure in Expressions (9-12)
  • A-SSE.1.b Interpret complicated expressions by viewing one or more of their parts as a single entity.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion
Unit Title: Motion in More Than One Dimension

Students can have fun exploring projectile motion as they interactively fire objects of varying mass from a cannon.  Users may set initial velocity, angle, and air resistance.  This resource would be teamed well with the Physics Classroom student tutorial on projectile motion (below).

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
(PhET, Boulder), WWW Document, (https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion).
PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion (PhET, Boulder), <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion>.
APA Format
PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion. (2006, March 3). Retrieved July 15, 2024, from PhET: https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion
Chicago Format
PhET. PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion. Boulder: PhET, March 3, 2006. https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion (accessed 15 July 2024).
MLA Format
PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion. Boulder: PhET. 3 Mar. 2006. 15 July 2024 <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion}, Publisher = {PhET}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {15 July 2024}, Month = {March 3, 2006}, Year = {} }
Refer Export Format

%T PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion %D March 3, 2006 %I PhET %C Boulder %U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion %O application/flash

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D March 3, 2006 %T PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion %I PhET %V 2024 %N 15 July 2024 %8 March 3, 2006 %9 application/flash %U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/projectile-motion

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Citation Source Information

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PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion:

Accompanies PhET Teacher Activities: Air Resistance Lesson

A comprehensive lesson with scripted teacher discussion and student worksheets, developed for use in Grades 8-9 specifically to accompany the PhET simulation Projectile Motion.

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies PhET Teacher Activities: Projectile Motion Investigation

A PBL (Problem-Based Learning) activity for conceptual physics that asks learners to take the role of artillery sergeants to prepare a report on the factors influencing the path of a projectile fired from a cannon.

relation by Caroline Hall
Accompanies PhET Teacher Activities: Projectile Motion-Gravity & Air Resistance

A context-rich activity for Grades 8-10 explores the effects of air resistance and gravity on the motion of a projectile.

relation by Caroline Hall
Has Version Of PhET Simulation: Projectile Motion HTML5

A link to the newer HTML5 version of the PhET simulation "Projectile Motion".

relation by Caroline Hall

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