Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Kinetic Energy and Mass

Figure from experiment 12 from Physics Explorations and Projects


The goal of this activity is to develop a model of the relationship between mass and speed for a system composed of an object acted upon by a constant amount of work. Students develop an understanding of the relationship between mass and speed for a given energy transfer into the system.

In the Preliminary Observations, students observe the speed of an object moving due to a repeatable amount of work. The mass will be changed by some significant factor and the resulting change in velocity observed.

During the subsequent inquiry activity, students may use a photogate, motion detector, Go Direct Sensor Cart, Motion Encoder, video analysis, or other tools to collect data for a low-friction cart on a level track or other similar system.

Students should complete the activity having evaluated data graphically and developed a mathematical model of the relationship between mass and velocity for a system for a given amount of work done on the system.

Learning Outcomes

  • Design and perform an investigation.
  • Identify variables, design and perform an investigation, collect data, analyze data, draw conclusions, and formulate a model based on data from the investigation.
  • Create graphical representations of velocity of an object versus the mass of the object.
  • Create a mathematical model of velocity of an object with varying mass and a constant work input.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS3.A Definitions of Energy
  • PS3.B Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer
  • PS3.C Relationship Between Energy and Forces

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models
  • Energy and Matter

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Developing and Using Models
  • Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions

Physics Explorations and Projects

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Constant Motion and Changing Motion
2Balanced Forces and Unbalanced Forces
3Gravitation on Earth
4Newton’s Second Law
5Projectile Challenge
6Impulse and Momentum
7Equilibrium of Forces
8Circular Motion
9Conservation of Momentum
10Egg Protection Challenge
11Springs Making Things Move
12Kinetic Energy and Mass
13Work and Kinetic Energy
14Work Done by Gravity
15Energy in Collisions
16Rube Goldberg Machine
17Charge and Charge Models
18Coulomb's Law
19Measuring Electric Current
20Conservation of Charge
21Voltage in a Circuit
22Battery Challenge
23Magnetic Field of a Current
24Current from a Changing Field
25Generating Electricity
27Wave Speed on a String
28Speed of Sound
29Interference and Diffraction
30Sound and Loudness
31Wave Communication Challenge
32Energy Storage in Capacitors
34Heat as Energy Transfer
35Solar Cells
36Rube Goldberg Machine Revisited

Experiment 12 from Physics Explorations and Projects Lab Book

<i>Physics Explorations and Projects</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

Dev Reference: VST0758

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