Newton's Laws of Motion

Pamela Strom CJHS 205 Caruthers Ave.

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

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An object moving at a constant velocity keeps moving at that velocity unless a net force acts on it.
An object at rest remains at rest unless a net force acts on it. 

Law of Inertia


A net force acting on an object causes the object to accelerate in the direction of the force.


When one object exerts a force on a second object , the second one exerts a force on the first that is equal in size & opposite in direction.


Research sites's_laws_of_motion

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Newton's Scooters
Project Pointers


Imagine what would happen if you and a friend were standing on roller skates and you gave your friend a forward push.  What would happen to you? Would you stand still or would you travel backward?  The backward motion that you would experience can be explained by Newton's third law of motion, which describes an equal and opposite reaction to every action.

In this project, you will use Newton's Third law of Motion to design a vehicle.  This vehicle must travel forward 1.5 meters by pushing backward on the floor, the air, or some other object.  At the close of this project, you will demonstrate your vehicle and explain its features to the class.

Project Rules

1.  Your vehicle design plans must be approved before you begin construction of your vehicle.

2.  Your vehicle must use Newton's third law of motion to move forward.  It must move forward
     by pushing backward on the floor, the air, or some other object.

3.  You must build your vehicle from scrap materials.  Don't use a ready-made vehicle.

4.  Your vehicle must travel forward 1.5 meters and completely cross the finish line.  The path of
     your vehicle should stay within a width of 1 meter.

5.  You are not allowed to interfere with the movement of your vehicle.  You cannot give your
     vehicle a push as you launch it, and you cannot help it in anyway is it travels from the starting

6.  You cannot use any form of electricity (batteries) or the pull of gravity to move your vehicle.
     This means that you cannot use a downhill ramp to get your vehicle started.

7.  You may use a "track" such as a toy car track or a string running from the starting line to the
     finish line to guide your vehicle.  Not only will this help reduce friction, but it may also help
     you to keep your vehicle within the boundaries.

8.  Your vehicle does not have to move along the ground.  If your vehicle moves through the air,
     you could use a string stretched between two chairs as a "track" to guide your vehicle.\

9.  For the class presentation, you must have diagrams of your vehicle that illustrates the forces
     that act upon it.  You should also be able to explain any modifications that you made to
     improve the performance of your vehicle.  

Suggested Materials

 Recycled materials from home, toys, or building block sets; balloons, springs,  straws, fishing lines, paper towel rolls, toilet paper rolls, rubber bands

Project Research

Click on the following sites to obtain more explanation of Newton's 3rd Law of Motion so you can apply it to building your "Scooter" vehicle.


Project Time Line


Due Date

Sketch of vehicle completed with applied forces of friction
forces of friction, gravity, & Newton's 3rd law of motion.

1/16/04, Friday


1/22/04, Thursday

Vehicle completed & demonstration

1/23/04, Friday

[This scooter project is from Science Explorer; Prentice Hall; Teaching Resources;2000]

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Revised: 18 Sep 2010 16:46:53 -0500 .