Education Technology

Spring Thing: Newton's Second Law

Activity Overview

In this activity, students' use a force sensor and a motion detector to collect force and acceleration data for an object moving up and down hanging from a spring. They use the data to test Newton's second law, and to estimate the mass of an object.

Before the Activity

  • Connect the force sensor to Channel 1 on the CBL 2™ or Vernier LabPro®
  • Connect the motion detector to the DIG/SONIC port of the CBL 2 or the DIG/SONIC 1 port of the LabPro
  • Connect the CBL 2 or LabPro to the calculator using the Unit-to-Unit cable
  • See the attached PDF file for detailed instructions for this activity
  • Print pages 69 - 76 from the attached PDF file for your class
  • During the Activity

    Distribute the pages to your class.

    Follow the Activity procedures:

  • Attach the force sensor to the ring stand and suspend the bob and slinky 1 m above the motion detector
  • Zero the force sensor, lift the bob by 10 cm and release it
  • Record the distance, velocity, acceleration, and force data
  • Examine distance, force, velocity, and acceleration versus time graphs and fill in the Data Sheet
  • Fit a linear equation model to the force versus acceleration data
  • After the Activity

    Students' will complete the Data Collection and Analysis Sheet and answer the questions listed in it.

    Review student results

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary