Author:
Mary Rose Yoo
Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Level:
High School
Tags:
  • Acceleration
  • Centrifugal Force
  • Centripetal Force
  • Circular Motion
  • Forces
  • Gravitation
  • Inertia
  • Motion
  • Newton
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    Inquiry Labs on Newton's Laws of Motion and Universal Gravitation

    Inquiry Labs on Newton's Laws of Motion and Universal Gravitation

    Overview

    Fun learning inquiry labs on Newton's Laws using common materials. Explore the Physics behind cars, rockets, seatbelts, planets, common "magic tricks" and more.

    Yoo's inquiry labs on Newton's Laws of Motion and Universal Gravitation

    Inquiry Labs on Newton’s Laws of Motion and Universal Gravitation

    Author: Mary Rose Yoo

    Subject: Physics, Physical Science

    Grade level: 10-12

    Time Allotment: 160 minutes

    Science Essential Standards:

           Physics: Phy.1.2 Analyze systems of forces and their interaction with matter.

           Physical Science: PSc.1.2 Understand the relationship between forces and motion.

    Inquiry Lab 1: Law of Inertia

    Background Information:

     Any object that has mass has inertia. Inertia is a property of matter to resist any change of state whether at rest or motion. Newton’s First Law of Motion also called Law of Inertia, states that “An object at rest will remain at rest and an object in motion will continue its motion in the same direction, unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force.”

    Objective: To explain the Law of Inertia in objects at rest and motion using common objects.

    Materials:   coin, marble, raw egg, triple beam balance, spring scale, cardboard loop, Erlenmeyer flask, Manila folder, paper tower roll, dominoes, ruler, meter stick, paper plate, vase, interactive notebook.

    PreLab: 

    Get the mass and weight of the coin, marble and egg using a triple beam balance and spring scale (convert mass in g to kg ). Review: Weight (W)= mass(m) x acceleration due to gravity (g)  W=mg  Unit : Newton (N) 1 N= 1 kg x m/s2

    Lab Proper:

    Part I : Loop and Coin

    Task: Place the small loop of cardboard over an Erlenmeyer flask until you get it’s center of mass and gravity. Flick the cardboard as quickly as you can and observe the coin. You should be able to drop the coin without deforming the loop, breaking the beaker or touching the coin.

    Draw the set-up before and after the coin was dropped. Label the forces acting on the coin. Do the same using a bigger loop. Explain how the Law of Inertia was applied in this scenario.

    Part II: Small Manila Cardboard and Coin

    Task: Do the same in Part I but this time using a small Manila cardboard and Coin. Explain how the Law of Inertia was applied in this scenario.

    Part III: Egg and Paper Towel Roll

    Task: Do the same in Part I but this time using a small egg and paper towel roll. Drop the egg into the beaker with water without breaking it. Put the paper plate over a big beaker with water, put the paper tower roll on the plate (upright position) and balance an egg on top of it. Pull the plate quickly and observe what happens to the egg. Explain why you did or did not break the egg in terms of Newton’s First Law.

    Part IV: Marble and Paper Plate

    Task: Put the marble on a plate and start moving the plate in a clockwise direction, keep moving in the same direction for 100 x (1 min and 40 s). When you reach 100 count, jerk the paper plate in a counterclockwise direction. Draw the direction of motion of the marble before and after the change in the direction of motion. Explain how the first law was applied in this scenario.

    Part VI: Vase and Manila Folder

    Task: Put a vase on top of the Manila Folder. You have to get the folder without touching and breaking the vase. Or else you will clean your mess.  Explain how Newton’s first law is applied here. Is this magic trick familiar to you? Where? It’s not magic, it’s Physics!

    Part VII: Domino Tower

    Task: You are going to build the tallest Domino Tower (use 20 pieces only and the extra 1  pc will be used in applying force on the tower. Measure the height of your domino tower. Draw how your tower looks. Get one piece of domino and hit the bottom piece of your tower. Draw the motion of the domino tower as it collapses. Label the forces acting on the Domino Tower.

    Part VIII: Draw and explain the physics behind wearing seatbelts.

    1. Driver at the red light and then the light turns green.
    2. Driver moving along Bypass 70 then a crazy drunk driver hit the car.

    Post Lab:

             Data Analysis

              Conclusion

     

    Inquiry Lab 2: Law of Acceleration

    Background Information: 

    Newton's second law of motion can be formally stated as follows:

            “The acceleration of an object as produced by a net force is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, in the same direction as the net force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object.”

                                    a = Fnet / m

                                     Fnet= ma

    Objective: To investigate how the amount of force given to an object with different masses changes its acceleration.

    Materials: Inclined planes, scooters, rough and smooth surfaces, interactive notebook

    PreLab  Questions:

    1. When do we say that an object is acted upon by balanced and unbalanced forces?
    2. What  is a net force( Fnet )?
    3. What is the unit of force?
    4. If a force of 100 N is exerted to push a box with  20kg mass, how much will it accelerate?
    5. How much force is needed to drop a 5kg rock  from a two-storey building? Hint: F = W, where W = mg
    6. What is friction? How does friction retard motion?
    7. Give examples of static friction, kinetic friction and rolling friction.

    NOTE: Safety First!

    Lab Proper

    Part 1. Inclined Plane

    Task: Conduct an experiment where you use inclined planes and other objects available in the classroom that can be used to prove Newton’s second law , THE LAW OF ACCELERATION.

    Gather quantitative data and use the second law equation.

    Part 2. Scooters

    Conduct an experiment where you use scooters and other objects available in the classroom that can be used to prove Newton’s second law , THE LAW OF ACCELERATION.

    Gather quantitative data and use the second law equation.

    (Use bike helmets and goggles)

    Part 3. Friction

    Conduct an experiment where you consider different frictional surfaces in proving Newton’s second law, THE LAW OF ACCELERATION.

    Gather quantitative data and use the second law equation.

    Post Lab:

               Data Analysis

               Conclusion

     

    Inquiry Lab 3: Law of Interaction & Universal Gravitation Lab

    Background Information: Law of Interaction

    • “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
    • Forces always come in pairs.
    • F1 =-F2

    Objective: To investigate action-reaction forces on balloon-powered carts

    Materials: Interactive notebook, balloon, recycled materials that can be used for making carts like empty water bottles, cereal box, old CDs, straws, cardboard, scotch tape, and empty soda cans.

    Pre-Lab Questions:

    1. Mary pushed John with a 30N force, as a reaction John pushed Mary with ________.

    1. Consider the interaction depicted below between foot A, ball B, and foot C. The three objects interact simultaneously (at the same time). Identify the two pairs of action-reaction forces. Use the notation "foot A", "foot C", and "ball B" in your statements.

    2.Identify at least six pairs of action-reaction force pairs in the following diagram.

     

     

    Lab Proper:

    1. Balloon-powered race cart.

    Task: Design a balloon-powered race cart that can run at least 2 m.

    Get the average speed of your cart.

    Explain how the cart moves in terms of Newton’s Law of Interaction.

    Draw the action-reaction forces.

    1. Class race (in the hallways)

                 Carts will be raced on straight and down the sloped surface.

    Post Lab:

            Data Analysis

              Conclusion

     

    Inquiry Lab 4: Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation

     Background Information: Law of Universal Gravitation

     

    Objectives:

                      To explain how the mass and distance of objects affect gravitational force.

                      To demonstrate the forces acting on objects that are in circular motion.

    Materials:  Cup, water, string, interactive notebook

    Pre-Lab Questions:

    1. Looking at the visual analysis on the effects of mass and distance on gravitational force Fgrav, ,what will happen to gravitational force if :
    1. ...you double the distance between two objects?
    2. … you halved the distance between two objects?
    3. … you double the masses of two objects?
    4. … you tripled  the objects’  masses?

    http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/circles/u6l3c2.gif

    2. Solve: Two spherical objects have masses of 200 kg and 500 kg. Their centers are separated by a distance of 25 m. Find the gravitational attraction between them.

    Lab Proper:Whirling a” bucket” filled with water.

    Task: ( In an open space )Put water in a cup, and start whirling the cup overhead.Time how long you can keep the water inside the cup. Imagine that your hand represents the sun and the cup with water represents the Earth. What keeps the Earth in orbit? The string represents the distance between the Sun and the Earth.

    1. Simulate the effect of distance on gravitational force by changing the length of the string. Observe the motion of the cup with a shorter and longer string. Write your observation.
    2. Simulate the effect of mass on gravitational force by changing the amount of water in the cup. Observe the motion of the cup with different amounts of water.
    3. Explain the gravitational force of attraction between the moon and the  Earth’s oceans during the full moon and new moon.
    4. Explain the bucket’s circular motion in terms of centripetal and centrifugal forces.

    Post Lab:

         Data Analysis

          Conclusion

     

    Credits:

    Images from www.physicsclassroom.com