Forces

Arbor Scientific is providing physics and physical science teachers with a collection of student lab activities for the study of Forces. Here you can browse lab activities by title and get teachers notes, student worksheets and a list of equipment and supplies needed for each activity.

  • Momentum - Tailgated by a Dart

    Posted on February 10, 2012 by Arbor Scientific

    In this lab, students will learn to estimate the speed of an object by applying conservation of momentum to an inelastic collision. Energy is not lost its transferred from one object to another. Students will fire a dart into the back of the free rolling car and measure the distance of the car, calculate the speed of the dart and car, and measure the mass of the car and dart.

    This post was posted in Labs, Motion, Forces, Energy & Work

  • Levers and Balance

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Arbor Scientific

    In the first lab, students will investigate the arrangements of weights that result in equilibrium (balance) in the lever system. They will find that both the force and the distance from the fulcrum are important in evaluating the system. This investigation leads naturally into a study of torque. In the next three labs, students will [...]

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces, Energy & Work and was tagged with equilibrium, levers and balance, torque, lever lab

  • Balloon Helicopter

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Arbor Scientific

    The balloon helicopter is a classic toy with a simple design. The physics that explains its motion, though, can be difficult to explain. Students will observe the motion of the helicopter and study its construction before applying Newton’s 3rd Law twice to explain how it moves. Newton’s 3rd Law says that every force is opposed by an equal and opposite force. This lab will reinforce the idea that the two forces involved in this law are applied to different objects.

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces and was tagged with force, newton's laws, balloon helicopter, 3rd law of motion

  • Forces in Equilibrium

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Arbor Scientific

    Students will place three different forces on a washer, and then arrange the forces so that the washer is in stable equilibrium in the center of the table. The forces must be visualized as vectors to understand how they can combine to produce a net force of zero.

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces and was tagged with net force, forces in equilibrium, force and vectors, washers

  • Life-Size Collisions

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Arbor Scientific

    Students will observe “explosions,” in which one student on a dynamics cart pushes another. From this, they will confirm the relationship between mass and velocity in determining momentum. They will also reinforce the idea of a closed system by experimenting with which student provides the pushing force. Then a single student on a cart will [...]

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces and was tagged with collisions, Life-size, explosion, human dynamics carts

  • Circular Motion and the Flying Pig

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Paul Robinson

    The Flying Pig provides students with a fun way to study circular motion. The pig and its string trace a conical pendulum and allow a perfect opportunity for calculations and measurements of circular motion. Students should be familiar with forces, specifically centripetal force, and how it is calculated. Students should also know the definitions of the fundamental trigonometric functions and how they can be used to find the sizes of parts of a right triangle.

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces and was tagged with pendulum, circular motion, flying pig, centripetal force

  • Equilibrium and Torque

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Arbor Scientific

    This lab has two activities. In the first, students investigate the arrangement of masses on a center-pivot lever required to produce balance. They will develop the idea that both force and lever arm produce torque, and that both quantities must be considered when trying to produce equilibrium.

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces and was tagged with equilibrium, torque, balance, levers, force vectors

  • Collisions on an Air Track

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Arbor Scientific

    In this lab using an Air Track, students will investigate elastic and inelastic collisions on an air track. Evaluate conservation of momentum and energy.

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces and was tagged with momentum, conservation of energy, air track motion, collisions, elastic, inelastic

  • The Bouncing Dart

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Arbor Scientific

    The Bouncing Dart is a specially designed pendulum with one elastic end and one inelastic end. Students will collide each end with a massive (1kg or more) cart, observing the pendulum's motion and measuring the distance the cart moves. They will conclude that elastic collisions transfer more momentum.

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces and was tagged with momentum, pendulum, collisions, elastic, inelastic, bouncing dart

  • Gravity and Motion

    Posted on January 1, 2011 by Arbor Scientific

    When a car is on a ramp, a portion of its weight works to roll it down the ramp. Another portion works to hold it down to the ramp. These two portions, or component forces, are perpendicular to one another and can be found by using the car’s weight and the angle of the ramp [...]

    This post was posted in Labs, Forces and was tagged with acceleration, car ramp, gravity and motion

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