Newton Car

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In this activity, learners work in teams to investigate the relationship between mass, acceleration, and force as described in Newton's second law of motion. During a set of experiments, learners use a wooden car and rubber bands to toss varying masses off the car and measure how far the car rolls in response to the action force generated. Although this activity focuses on second law of motion, educators can use this activity to investigate all three of Netwon's laws. This lesson plan includes background information, tips and black-line masters for learners.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 1 1 X 3 X 8 inch board
  • 3 1/4" diameter by 2 1/2" long diameter dowels (or wood screws)
  • Wood glue
  • Cotton string
  • Rubber bands (size 19) ( 2 per team)
  • Medicine bottles
  • Straight drinking straws (not flexi) (25 per team)
  • Meter sticks or rulers
  • Metric beam balance or scale
  • Scissors or lighters
  • Popcorn seeds, washers, pennies, marbles, paper clips, etc. (for filling the bottles)
  • Safety goggles


  • Mathematics
    • Data Analysis and Probability
      • Data Analysis
      • Data Collection
      • Data Representation
    • Measurement
    • Number and Operations
    • Reasoning and Proof
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Problem Solving
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Machines
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Projectile Motion
      • Newton's Laws
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Model Building
  • Transportation


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Includes assesments for student learning:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Shearer, Deborah A. ; Vogt, Ed.D., Gregory L.


  • Public domain, ,