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Car Craze Camp: Laws of Motion



Activity Ideas

K-PS2-1. Plan and conduct an investigation to compare the effects of different strengths or different directions of pushes and pulls on the motion of an object.

3-PS2-2. Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.

MS-PS2-1. Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.

What do I need?: 
  • 1 or more toy cars
  • Some kind of ramp (example: a wood board leaning against a chair)
  • Books
  • A small object to sit on top of the car (example: playdough, a coin, a checker)
  • A ball or a light object
What do I do?: 
  1. Set up your ramp. Place a stack of heavy books a few feet from the end of the ramp, so that the car hits them when it rolls off. Test it out by letting the car roll down the ramp from the top.
  2. Now, place a small object on top of the car and let it roll down and hit the books. What happened to the small object?
  3. Push the car on a flat surface. What happens when you push the car with more force?
  4. Now, place a ball or similar object in place of the books after the bottom of the ramp. Let the car roll down the ramp and run into the ball. What happened?
  5. Continue the science! Think of ways you can try changing the variables of this experiment. Get creative!
What's going on?: 

Sir Isaac Newton was a mathematician and physicist who came up a theory about motion that has been tested and verified so many times over the years, that scientists now call them Newton's Three Laws of Motion.

When small object flew off the front of the car when it crashed into the books. This shows Newton’s 1st Law of Motion: Inertia. An object in motion will stay in motion.

When you pushed the car with more force it moved faster and farther. This shows us Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion: Acceleration. The force you exert affects the acceleration.

When the car hit the ball, the car stopped and the ball moved in the car’s original direction. This shows us Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion. The 3rd Law states, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

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