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Newton Car (second law of motion)

Author(s): Deborah A. Shearer, MS, and Gregory L. Vogt, EdD
Newton Car (second law of motion)

Sir Isaac Newton, circa 1726.
Portrait by Enoch Seeman.

  • Grades:
  • 6-8 9-12

Students investigate the relationship among mass, acceleration and force, as described in Newton's Second Law of Motion.

Small student teams use a wooden car and rubber bands to toss a small mass off the car. The car, resting on rollers, will be propelled in the opposite direction. During a set of experiments, students will vary the mass being tossed from the car and change the number of rubber bands used to toss the mass. Students will measure how far the car rolls in response to the action force generated.

The "Newton Car" activity is from the Rockets Educators Guide. Although grade levels are suggested, small modifications will enable more complex activities to be used successfully with other grade levels for observation, demonstration or complete lessons.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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This publication is by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Kennedy Space Center, and released into the Public Domain. Permission is not required for duplication.