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Activity 6

Teacher Notes: Newtons First LawNo Net Force

PS-2826

Teacher Notes Activity 6: Newtons First Law


Time Estimates

Preparation: 10 min

Activity: 20 min

Objectives
Students will be able to

use a Motion Sensor to measure the motion of a cart under four different conditions of force applied.

use the Xplorer GLX to record and display the position and velocity of the cart for the four conditions
of force applied.

describe the condition that is necessary for an object to remain at rest or for an object in motion to
remain in motion without any changes.

state Newtons First Law of motion in conceptual terms.

Notes
Students will make four measurements:

Motion of a cart that is at rest and does not experience a net force.

Motion of a cart that is at rest, and experiences a net force for a short time interval.

Motion of a cart that is moving, and has very little friction.

Motion of a cart that is initially at rest, but experiences a constant net force.

For all four data measurements, students follow the same basic steps.
The mathematical shorthand for Newtons First Law of Motion is if

net

(if

the sum of all forces is zero, then acceleration is zero).

Sample Data
The screenshots in the Lab Report show the plots of position and velocity versus time for the
cart.
NOTE: The student sketches in the Lab Report could all be on the same set of axes; one set for
position and one set for velocity.

Introductory Physics with the Xplorer GLX

2006 PASCO

p. 17

Activity 6

Teacher Notes: Newtons First LawNo Net Force

PS-2826

Lab Report Activity 6: Newtons First LawNo Net Force


Answers and Sample Data
Predict
1.

What will happen to an object at rest if no force is applied?

If no force is applied to an object at rest, it will remain at rest.


2.

What will happen to an object at rest if it is pushed, but there is a large frictional force
acting on the object?

If an object at rest is pushed, but there is a large frictional force acting on it, the object will move
for a short time and then come to rest again.
3.

What will happen to the motion of an object that is pushed, and there is very little frictional
force acting on the object?

If an object is pushed, and there is little frictional force acting on it, the object will continue to
move in a straight line at a relatively constant speed.
4.

What will happen to the motion of an object if there is a constant net force applied to it?

If an object experiences a constant net force, it will have constant acceleration.

Data
Sketch your graphs of position versus time for the cart for all four runs. Include labels and units
for your y-axes and x-axes. (See the Sample Data screenshots.)

Fig. 1: Run #1 position graph

Fig. 2 Run #2 position graph

Fig. 3 Run #3 position graph

Introductory Physics with the Xplorer GLX

2006 PASCO

Fig. 4 Run #4 position graph

p. 18

Activity 6

Teacher Notes: Newtons First LawNo Net Force

PS-2826

Sketch your graphs for velocity versus time for the cart for all four runs. Include labels and units
for your y-axes and x-axes.

Fig. 5: Run #1 velocity graph

Fig. 6: Run #2 velocity graph

Fig. 7: Run #3 velocity graph

Fig. 8: Run #4 velocity graph

Questions
1.

What do your graphs show for the car in Run #1 (no force applied)?

Both the graphs of position and velocity show that there is no motion for the cart at rest.
2.

What does your velocity graph show for the cart in Run #2 (friction cart cart is pushed,
but has a large frictional force)?

The velocity graph shows that the cart that is pushed moves with for a short time and then stops.
3.

Why does the cart keep moving in Run #3 (low friction cart cart is pushed, and has little
frictional force)?

The low-friction cart continues to move because there is almost no force opposing its motion.
4.

Which data run represents constantly accelerated motion?

The data run for the fan cart shows constantly accelerated motion.
5.

Why does the cart sliding on the friction block (Run #2) come to a stop so quickly?

The cart sliding on the friction block comes to a stop quickly because there is a force opposing
its motion
6.

What happens to an object at rest if no force is applied?

An object at rest remains at rest if no force is applied.

Introductory Physics with the Xplorer GLX

2006 PASCO

p. 19

Activity 6

7.

Teacher Notes: Newtons First LawNo Net Force

PS-2826

What happens to an object in motion is no force is applied?

An object in motion will continue in motion if no net force is applied.


8.

Do your results support your predictions?

Answers will vary.

Introductory Physics with the Xplorer GLX

2006 PASCO

p. 20