Newton's Three Laws of Motion Lab
Purpose: To demonstrate Newton's three laws of motion.
NEWTON'S FIRST LAW
1. Put an index card on top of an empty beaker.
Place a coin on the center of the card.
Flick your index finger sharply against the edge of the card.
2. From a folder, cut a strip of paper that is
2.5 cm wide and 24 cm long.
Tape ends to make a loop.
Put the loop over a beaker and place
a penny on top of the loop.
Using a pencil, quickly pull the loop
away from the beaker.
3. Place a block on a piece of paper on the table. With a quick jerk, pull on the paper.
4. Stack at least 4 pennies neatly on a table. Position another penny about 2 inches from the stack and flick
the penny so that it hits the bottom penny in the stack.
5. Place a book at the end of the table(lay it flat). Place the mass in the cart. Push the loaded cart toward
the book from a distance of 2 feet.
6. Place a bb into a test tube. Place the test tube on its side. Move the test tube across the table with the
open end forward. Stop the test tube suddenly.
1a. What happened to the penny?
1b. Why didn't the coin move with the card?
1c. What resultant force acted on the penny?
2. Explain why the penny on the loop falls into the beaker and doesn't fly across the room.
3. What happened when the paper was jerked from under the block?
4a. What happened to the penny that was flicked?
4b. Why does the penny do this?
5a. What happened to the cart?
5b. What happened to the mass?
5c. Why did the mass act as it did?
6. What did the BB do?
7. State Newton's First Law.
8. What is inertia?
Bonus: Obtain a balloon from your teacher and place a penny in the balloon. Inflate the balloon
and tie off. Pull on the top and bottom of the balloon. Rotate the balloon until the penny begins to
spin around the balloon. Hold the balloon in this position until the penny stops. The person who
can keep the penny spinning the longest without cheating will receive a prize.
NEWTON'S SECOND LAW
1. Obtain a petri dish containing small heads of different sizes.
2. With the petri dish lying on the lab table, slide it back and forth rapidly. Note the motion of the
1. Is your hand providing about the same amount of force to all the beads in the petri dish?
2. Are all of the beads moving at the same speed?
3. Which are moving faster (on average), the smaller beads or the larger beads?
4. Which beads, therefore, are harder to accelerate?
Newton's Second Law says that force is equal to the mass of an object multiplied by its
acceleration: F= ma
Therefore, if force stays the same, mass and acceleration are "inversely proportional". In other
words, as the mass of an object or particle goes up, its acceleration goes down and vice versa.
Explain the motion of the beads in the petri dish using Newton's Second Law.
NEWTON'S THIRD LAW
1. Tie about three feet of string to a ring stand.
2. Put the free end of the string through a straw.
3. Blow up a balloon and hold the opening tightly.
4. Tape the straw to the balloon with the opening directly in front of the ring stand.
5. Tie the free end of the string to the second ring stand.
6. Release the balloon.
1. What happened to the balloon?
2. What is Newton's Third Law?
3. How did this experiment illustrate Newton's Third Law?