Newton's Second Law of Motion


In the Force, Work, and Energy Unit students learn about the factors which affect the motion of objects. This activity will help students to understand how increasing weight affects the velocity of a truck on an incline, which leads them into the study of acceleration, momentum, and Newton’s Second Law of Motion. Students will write their lab report on the computer using Claris 4.0 Word Processing and Assistants for their data table.


  • The computer is useful for compiling data on a data table. (Attachment)
  • Mathematical calculations can be made in a column on a data table by the computer.
  • The concept of the affect of weight on velocity may be generalized to cover everyday situations e.g. heavy trucks on steep inclines in the mountains.

  • Set up a pre-lab outline, including a data table, using ClarisWorks 4.0 Word Processing and Assistants. The ClarisWorks 4.0 Assistant Lab Report is located under Curric:Science/Mathematics (this file is a template for creating lab reports) . Print out the pre-lab outline and use during the actual experiment
  • Perform an experiment to determine the affect of weight on the velocity of a truck on an incline.
  • Complete the lab report on the computer using the “saved” pre-lab outline.Discuss why it is necessary to have “escape paths” for trucks along the sides of roads (e.g. West Virginia ) with steep inclines. The discussion might also include a description of the material (ask students what they think ) used for the surface of escape paths.
  • Students work in lab groups and perform an experiment.
  • Provide lab groups with the necessary materials and procedures to complete an experiment about how weight affects the velocity of a truck on an incline.
  • Materials: inclined plane, masking tape, sinkers, plastic truck, stopwatch, meter stick, pegboards.
  • Provide the formula for calculating velocity: v = distance divided by time.
  • Students will do a rough draft of their lab report, which will include a data table.

On the computer

  • Students, working in pairs, will use the ClarisWorks 4.0 Assistant Lab Report to write a pre-lab outline.
  • Upon completion of the experiment, students will again go into the computer lab and complete the final lab report.


  • Students will draw a graph of their experimental results.
  • Students share their experimental results and conclusions with the class.
    Related resources
  • File named “Weight/Velocity Lab”