1. Students should gather materials and set up the experiment. Use books to elevate the ramps (height will depend on number of books available and number of groups). Make sure the different groups use the same number of books (three is recommended). Ask students to predict how the different masses will affect the distance that each car travels. Record all information and data in science notebooks. Ramps may be made by taping together meter sticks side by side. Make them as wide as needed for the toy cars.
2. Students will conduct three trials with no weights, five weights, and ten weights. Use tape to attach weights to the top of the cars. Measure the distance the car travels. Make sure to keep ramp angle, release height, etc. all the same so that you are only testing one variable. Have students create a data table for recording their distances. Make sure they have a column to calculate average distance (see attached data table).
3. Ask students to answer the following questions in their science notebook:
- How does increasing mass (adding weights) affect the acceleration of the object?
- Explain your results in terms of Newton's Second Law (Acceleration= Force/Mass).
4. After the students complete the lab, watch the Bozeman video on Newton's Second Law.
5. Have a class discussion on how adding mass changed the acceleration of the car. Ask students to use their data to back up their arguments. If time permits, allow students to make predictions on how adding 15 or 20 weights would affect the acceleration of the car.