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The Baseball and Air Activity
If so instructed by your teacher, print out a worksheet page for these problems.


In CurveBall, use the "Probe" pull down menu to select Velocity at the left bottom of the screen. Notice the probe that appears in the Wind Tunnel View window.

Step 1.

Using the sliders to the left and below the probe gage, move the probe to a position as close to the ball as possible and as close to the center (from left to right) as possible. The probe position is the location of the small red ball in the view window.

Step 2.

Using a ruler, measure the distance between the red ball of the probe and the center of the ball. How fast is the airstream moving around the ball at this distance?

Distance ___________inch. Speed of the airstream ______________mph.

Step 3.

By moving only the slider to the left of the Probe Gage move the probe vertically above and the ball and take five readings of distance and speed. Record these in the chart below. Repeat this for five readings below the ball.

Upper Distance (x)
Upper Speed (y)
Lower Distance (x)
Lower Speed (y) 









































Step 4.

Using two different colored pens, graph the information from the chart on the graph found in the worksheet. Graph #1 will be the upper side of the ball, and graph #2 will be the lower side.



  1. What happens to the airstream as the probe is moved farther from the center of the ball?   
  2. Why do you think this happens? 
  3. What happens if you change the speed of the ball? 
  4. Does this change what you discovered in Question 1?
  5. Does your result change if you put Spin on the ball? 
  6. Examine your graphs. What kind of relationship exists between an airstream's distance from the ball and the speed of the airstream?
  7. Write an equation for one of your graphs. 
  8. Why is this the correct equation?

Related Pages:
Lesson Index
Aerodynamics Index


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Editor: Tom Benson
NASA Official: Tom Benson
Last Updated: Thu, Jun 12 04:47:14 PM EDT 2014

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