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♦ Recall that Newton’s Second Law states that the acceleration of a certain mass is

proportional to the net force exerted on it, or F = ma .

What does F = ma mean? We all know - it just makes sense

most of the time.

• It’s easier to push a little car out of a snow bank than a big

truck.

• A door will accelerate faster and slam harder if we give it a

big push instead of a little push.

• If you need to accelerate quickly, you throw off your heavy

book bag.

• The more friction, the more something slows down.

♥ Newton’s Second Law can be written as proportionality statements where one variable

is related to another.

An example of a proportionality Another example of a proportionality statement

statement could be something like 1

height ∝ age , which reads could be V ∝ , which reads “volume is

P

“height is proportional to age”. It inversely proportional to pressure”. As the

suggests that as age increases, so volume of a container of gas decreases, the

does height. pressure increases. This occurs in our chest

cavity when we exhale air from our lungs.

if F = ma …

if F = ma … if F = ma …

1

then F ∝ m then F ∝ a then m ∝

a

proportionality

statement in words

example

♠ We can prove Newton’s Second Law if we can show that

⇒ increasing the force on a certain mass increases its acceleration,

⇒ increasing the mass decreases the acceleration caused by a certain force, or

⇒ increasing the acceleration of a certain mass takes a larger force.

In any case, we need to be able to measure force, mass, and acceleration. Measuring force is

easy with a calibrated spring scale. Measuring mass is easy with a balance. How can we

determine an object’s acceleration?

Acceleration can be defined as the rate of

change of velocity - it talks about how

quickly an object‘s speed increases or

decreases.

1

a( ∆t )

2

∆d = vi ∆t +

2

The equation in the box

deals with acceleration.

that the object begins at

rest and rearrange the

equation for acceleration,a.

an object to travel a certain

distance from rest, we can

determine its acceleration.

To Do List:

1. Choose one of the Newton’s Second Law proportionality statements to test. Write the

statement as a question. The proportionality statement will serve as the hypothesis.

2. Design and carry out an experiment to test your hypothesis.

a) Decide which variable depends on which based on your question.

b) Decide on a way to vary and measure the independent variable.

c) Decide on a way to measure the dependent variable.

d) Decide on a way to collect data. Make it so you can collect lots of data.

e) Record how you will conduct your experiment.

f) Conduct your experiment with multiple repetitions. Record observations.

g) Graph and analyze your observations. Assess your hypothesis.

3. Write a technical report following technical report format including an Introduction,

Methods, Results, and Discussion section.

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