Education Technology

Conservation of Momentum Data Collection Lab

Updated on 04/15/2014

Activity Overview

In this lesson, students will explore momentum through collecting data using CBR2s of two carts on a dynamic track that collide.


  • Students will develop an understanding of momentum.
  • Students will compare mass and velocity of one object to another to confirm the conservation of momentum.
  • Students will measure velocity and mass of two dynamic carts as they push away from one another.


  • conservation
  • momentum
  • velocity
  • mass

About the Lesson

This lesson involves setting up a dynamic cart track.
As a result, students will:

  • Attach the CBR 2 to the carts and measure the mass of the whole system.
  • Place the carts on the track with the motion detectors pointing in the direction each cart will be traveling. There should be a large target at the end of each ramp (a book standing at the end of the ramp works well).
  • Start a sample and trigger the carts.
  • Select the linear section of the graph generated while the carts were moving away from one another and strike the data outside of the selection and find linear curve fit to determine the velocity of each cart.


You may want to have students create a Lab Report using TI-Nspire following this lab activity. A sample lab report is provided in the downloads.