Education Technology

Forensics Case 6 - Measuring Momentum: Using distance moved after impact to estimate velocity

Published on 06/17/2010

Activity Overview

This activity introduces the concept of momentum as it applies to vehicle collisions. Students accurately gather data of collision of a vehicle with a stationary object, and establish a relationship between the distance an object moves after a collision with a vehicle and the momentum of the vehicle.

Key Steps

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    To gather data on momentum of moving objects, students use a velocity-time graph made with a CBR2 to find the velocity of a toy car rolling down a ramp at the time it collides with a stationary book.

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    To change the velocity of the car, it is released at different points on the ramp. Then students create data that shows the relationship of the momentum of the car with the distance that the book moves by calculating the linear regression.