Scientific Method

Joe Student rolled a toy car down a ramp and measured how far it traveled along the floor.
He recorded the distance along with the original mass of the toy car. Then, he taped a
penny to the roof of the same toy car, measured its new mass, and rolled it down the same
ramp from the same starting position. Again, he measured the distance the toy car traveled
and recorded the data. He taped a 2
nd
penny to the toy car’s roof, measured its new mass,
and rolled it down the same ramp from the same starting position. And again, he measured
the distance the toy car traveled and recorded the data. Based on this data, he concluded
that the greater mass caused the car to roll a greater distance.

What was the error in the experiment?

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1. How did he roll it? Did he give it a push or just let it roll by itself? If he just let it roll by itself, I don't detect any error, except that he might want to repeat the rolls many times, to make sure that the differences were not merely chance occurrences.

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posted by PsyDAG

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