At a Glance


  • STEM
  • Physics

Instructional Level

  • College & CEGEP
  • University


  • Mechanics

Tasks in Workflow

Social Plane(s)

  • Individual
  • Group

Type of Tasks

  • Solving problems
  • Reviewing & assessing peers

Technical Details

Useful Technologies

  • Clicker System

Class size

  • Small (20-49)
  • Medium (50-99)


  • Single class period (< 90 mins)

Instructional Purpose

  • Application & knowledge building
  • Assessment & knowledge refinement


In this activity, students will answer a series of short conceptual clicker questions designed to teach them to think about projectile motion.

Prior to the activity, the instructor gives a lecture on projectile motion. The first clicker question is then introduced, and is a simple question about projectile motion. Once student responses have been collected, if more than 75% of students answered correctly the instructor explains the correct answer, otherwise students are told to pair up and discuss the question using the Peer Instruction & Think-pair-share strategy, and then re-polled.

This is repeated for the second, then third problem. These problems are more difficult, requiring students to think about the relationship between the height, air time, and distance of a projectile. After the third problem, the instructor highlights the key points, emphasizing that the time spent in the air by a projectile is directly related to its height, not to the distance traveled.

Instructional Objectives

Students will be able to:

  • Recognize distinction between the horizontal and vertical components of projectile motion.
  • Explain that it is the vertical height of a projectile that determines the time spent in the air, not the horizontal distance traveled.

Workflow & Materials


Activity Workflow

View on CourseFlow

Contributor's Notes

Kenneth Ragan

Kenneth Ragan

McGill University, Montreal


This simple activity can be done in a lecture room of any size. It gives students a real life scenario similar to others they have seen (everyone has seen objects being thrown in real life), confronting their misconceptions about something they feel they know very well.

Their first response to the second question tends to be that there isn’t enough information, but you gradually show them that this simply isn’t the case.


Without feedback, students will continually pick the closer clown. This makes both the “think pair share” portion and the instructor feedback vital to this activity.


During the “think pair share” portion, you should give students a hint rather than simply telling them that it’s not right.

The “think pair share” portion is only really necessary if less than 70-80% of the students answer correctly. You might therefore skip it for the first problem. In the other two problems, however, the majority of students will usually answer incorrectly.

Applied Strategies


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