Sensor Cart Physics
Sensor Cart Physics features 21 guided-inquiry investigations using the Vernier Go Direct® Sensor Cart. It provides a stimulating structure to explore introductory through AP-level concepts in kinematics, dynamics, and conservation of energy and momentum.
Sensor Cart Physics, authored by Roger F. Larson, features 21 guided-inquiry investigations using the Vernier Go Direct® Sensor Cart. It provides a stimulating structure to explore introductory through AP-level concepts in kinematics, dynamics, and conservation of energy and momentum.
The Go Direct® Sensor Cart is equipped with three sensors: a motion encoder wheel that reports the cart’s position, velocity, and acceleration; a force sensor with a range of ±50 N; and a 3-axis accelerometer—providing hands-on opportunities to explore basic physics principles. The sensor data are transmitted via Bluetooth® wireless technology to devices for inspection in the free Graphical Analysis™ 4 app.
Each of the investigations provides an experiment video or photo to offer guidance. Links to internet background information are included in the Introduction which tie the topics to real-world phenomena. The links can serve as pre-lab assignments to introduce each investigation. The Research Question and Predicted Outcome sections are incorporated to engage student interest and provide a meaningful purpose for the investigation.
Note that these experiments challenge students to develop their own experimental procedures and record their data without pre-made data tables. Students are directed to write their own conclusions in response to research questions and to design their own extensions to the included experiments. This set of experiments complements guided-inquiry and Modeling Instruction™ classrooms.
Table of Contents
A. Exploring Graphical Analysis™ 4 app
B. Exploring the Go Direct® Sensor Cart
Part 1: Kinematics
1. Motion with Constant Velocity: Slow, Slower, Slowest
2. Motion on an Incline: Rollin’ Down
3. Motion on an Incline: Coasting Up and Down
Part 2: Newton’s Laws of Motion
4. Newton’s First Law of Motion: The Law of Inertia
5. Newton’s Second Law of Motion: F = ma
6. Newton’s Third Law of Motion: Action—Reaction
Part 3: Forces
7. Gravitational Field Strength: Fg/m
8. Inertial and Gravitational Mass: What’s the Difference?
9. Hooke’s Law: Stretching Rubber Bands
10. Specific Gravity: Density Without Units
11. The Force of Friction: The Weight Variable
12. The Force of Friction: The Surface Area Variable
13. The Coefficient of Friction 𝜇: Comparing Two Methods
Part 4: The Conservation Laws
14. Impulse and Momentum: Collisions Analyzed
15. Converting PE to KE: Downhill Racers
16. Elastic PE: Plunger Spring Energy
17. Elastic PE to KE: Launch Speed
18. Kinetic Energy and Momentum: Elastic Collisions
19. Kinetic Energy and Momentum: Inelastic Collisions
20. Energy and Momentum: Exploding Carts
21. The Magical Mystery Bounce: Hidden Phases
Sensor Cart Physics uses a variety of Vernier products, as shown below.