The Atwood’s Machine and Newton’s Second Law of Motion Computer Lab


This is a computer lab that utilizes the Atwood’s Machine to explore Newton’s Second Law of Motion, F=ma. To access the lab, go to This lab has a total of 34 questions, covering six pages. A calculator is needed, but the math is very straight forward, essentially having the students plug in numbers for Newton’s Second Law of Motion, F=ma. Multiplication and division are all that is needed. Roughly about 30% of the higher-order questions are conceptually based off of the calculations and diagrams the students make in class.



This lab is ideal for conceptual physics, regular physics, physical science, special ed physics, or general science.
This lab should run about 55 minutes, leaving some time left over to answer individual student questions. I would personally recommend doing the first section on the overhead for the class to follow along, especially if there are students with disabilities in the class. This lab is designed for a high school-level conceptual physics, or regular physics classroom, although it may be appropriate for middle school students also. This would not be appropriate for AP physics, unless you wanted to use it as a self-directed lab for sub plans.
Atwood’s Machine, Newton’s Second Law of Motion, mass, acceleration, force, tension, inertia, static friction, dynamic friction, free body diagrams, F=ma, the relationships between force, mass, and acceleration, inverse mathematical relationships, using technology, static and dynamic equilibrium, graphing


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