Newton's 2nd law inquiry lab

Scott Holland
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Experiment/Lab Activity
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.


Average Rating

3 (2 reviews)

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Most Recent Review

2 Safety Concern

I would not use this because of safety concerns for students.


This is a description of an inquiry lab in which students use skate boards, timers, length measuring equipment, and students to investigate the relationship between force and acceleration. In the process of their investigation the students will identify whether their motion was constant velocity or accelerating. After the investigation students analyze the motion to identify the effects of friction and error.

Intended Audience

Educational Level
  • High School
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-PS2-1 Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.

Clarification Statement: Examples of data could include tables or graphs of position or velocity as a function of time for objects subject to a net unbalanced force, such as a falling object, an object rolling down a ramp, or a moving object being pulled by a constant force.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to one-dimensional motion and to macroscopic objects moving at non-relativistic speeds.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The lab described directly addresses the performance expectation. Students collect data and then analyze it to find a relationship between force and acceleration.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The lab described directly tests the relationship between force and mass.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The lab described explores Newton's second law. 

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This lab asks students to gather empirical evidence to test the relationship between force and acceleration.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The lab directly explores the performance expectation, disciplinary core idea, science and engineering practice, and cross cutting concept.

  • Instructional Supports: Excellent teacher notes about how to set up and support the students during the lab investigation.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Some suggestions are included as to how to monitor student progress, but the teacher will have to put together specific requirements for the students.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -