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Lessons 2: How is the Distance Traveled Affected by the Applied Force?

Newton’s Laws of Motion describe the relationship between the applied force on an object and its distance traveled when pushed. Can you get pushy and discover this relationship?

Doing the science

  1. Start the Push-A-Cart Simulation.
  2. Note the current force value (3 N) on the pushing apparatus.
  3. Click on the "Push Cart" button.
  4. Note and record in Table 1 the distance traveled by the cart.
  5. Click the "Reset Cart" button to return it to the start position.
  6. Change the force value on the pushing apparatus to 1 N by clicking on the value.
  7. Click on the "Push Cart" button.
  8. Note and record the distance traveled by the cart.
  9. Click the "Reset Cart" button to return it to the start position.
  10. Change the force value on the pushing apparatus by clicking on the value until all five force values have been tested.

Table 1.

Trial

Force (N)

Distance Traveled (m)

1

3

2

1

3

2

4

4

5

5

Do You Understand?

  1. Make a graph of the applied force on the cart versus the distance the cart moved during each test. What generalization can you make about how applied force and distance traveled are related?