Education Technology

Impulse-Momentum Theorem

Activity Overview

Students explore the relationships between momentum, force, and impulse for the linear collision of a ball with an unmovable wall.

Key Steps

  • Image

    Students investigate the impulse-momentum theorem using several models of linear collisions.


    First, students examine an animation showing the collision of a ball with an unmovable wall. The animation shows the magnitude, direction, and duration of the force exerted on the ball by the wall.

  • Image

    Next, students examine simulations of inelastic collisions between two balls and two unmovable walls. Students can vary the initial velocity of each ball and observe the effects in each case. They see that identical initial velocities do not produce identical final velocities, and they hypothesize about some possible reasons for the difference.

  • Image

    Finally, students solve problems involving the impulse-momentum theorem.