Gravitational Potential Energy
Q: What factors affect crushing the can?
Rephrased Investigative Question:
Hypothesis:
 How does the mass of the object dropped affect the amount the can is crushed?
 How does the height of the object dropped affect the amount the can is crushed?
Hypothesis:
 If I increase the mass, then the height of the can will decrease because...
 If I increase the height, then the height of the can will decrease because...
Materials:
 9  10 soda cans (depended on which variable you were testing).
 13 dropping objects  (mass)
 1 sewer pipe (with different heights)
 1 long nail
 1 box
 1 caliper
Procedures
Step 1: Empty the soda can

Step 2: Grab the pipe and other materials and get it ready to go.

Step 3: Set the nail at the appropriate level(s)
The pipe was sectioned off by 1/2 meter increments from 0.5m  2.5m (0.5m, 1.0m, 1.5m, 2.0m, 2.5m).
 If the independent variable was mass, the height was one single height (like the girl pointing to the single nail at 1.5m).
 If the independent variable was height, the height was set at all 5 sections with one single mass.
Step 4: Mass out and Insert the object that will be dropped on the can
There were three different masses used. If mass was the independent variable  you worked with all three masses. If the independent variable was height, your group only worked with one mass.
Step 5: Place the can in the box and then the pipe over the can

Step 6: Release the nail and crush the can

Step 7: Measure the can and record your data.
Step 7: Repeat for other masses or heights.
 If mass was the independent variable, the height was kept the same and the masses were small, medium and large.
 If height was the independent variable, the mass was the same, and the heights were .5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 meters.
Data
Qualitative Observations:
 We felt the air being pushed out as the object descended down the tube.
 We noticed that the bulk of the crushing was near the top and not the bottom.
Data Analysis (Mass): 
Data Analysis (Height): 


Concluding thoughts:
The main thing that we learn from this activity is that mass with gravity does greatly affect the ability to crush a can, and so does the height at which it is dropped. The reason for this is because of the amount of energy stored in the object before it is released. Once released, that objects stored gravitational energy is converted into kinetic energy  or energy that is in motion.
Once that object hits the can, that energy gets converted into several other forms of energy  such as elastic, heat and sound, once the object collides with the can.
Energy is the ability to move and comes in several different forms. This energy is either moving  or stored and has the ability to move. We call it either potential or kinetic. Energy is calculated by the basic formula consisting of the following variables: Mass, Acceleration & Distance. It's unit is the Joule. It works very basically like this: Energy = Mass x Acceleration x Distance.
Another way to see it  when that object is moving  it too has energy!
Here are some defining terms to help you understand:
Potential energy is stored energy. This means objects can move, but is not moving.
Kinetic energy is moving energy. This means the object is moving.
Gravitational Potential Energy is calculated by the following variables: Mass, Gravity & Height. In fact, mathematically, it is calculated based on the following formula: mass x gravitational acceleration rate (9.8 m/s^2) x height.
Kinetic Energy is calculated by the following variables: 1/2 x Mass x Velocity^2. This means that to calculate the kinetic energy of any object, the object with mass needs to be moving.
Once that object hits the can, that energy gets converted into several other forms of energy  such as elastic, heat and sound, once the object collides with the can.
Energy is the ability to move and comes in several different forms. This energy is either moving  or stored and has the ability to move. We call it either potential or kinetic. Energy is calculated by the basic formula consisting of the following variables: Mass, Acceleration & Distance. It's unit is the Joule. It works very basically like this: Energy = Mass x Acceleration x Distance.
 Mass x Acceleration  is a Force, the push or a pull.
 Mass x Acceleration rate of gravity (9.8 m/s^2) is weight.
 Weight is a force.
 When the object moves  it moved a distance, and it required energy to do just that.
Another way to see it  when that object is moving  it too has energy!
Here are some defining terms to help you understand:
Potential energy is stored energy. This means objects can move, but is not moving.
Kinetic energy is moving energy. This means the object is moving.
Gravitational Potential Energy is calculated by the following variables: Mass, Gravity & Height. In fact, mathematically, it is calculated based on the following formula: mass x gravitational acceleration rate (9.8 m/s^2) x height.
Kinetic Energy is calculated by the following variables: 1/2 x Mass x Velocity^2. This means that to calculate the kinetic energy of any object, the object with mass needs to be moving.
Gravitational Potential Energy Extensions:

