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Newton Vehicle Project
Objective: Apply Newton's Third Law of Motion by building and designing a
vehicle. Identify and manipulate variables that affect the performance of a
vehicle and communicate the results of their activity through a
ESLRs: C. O. U. G. A. R.
Scenario: The Valley School Automotives hired you to create a new vehicle
using Newton's third law of motion, which describes an equal and opposite
reaction to every action. In this project, you will use Newton's third
law of motion to design and build a vehicle.
A. This vehicle must travel forward 1.5 meters and completely cross the
finish line by pushing backward on the floor, the air, or some other
B. Your vehicle must use Newton's third law of motion to move forward; it
must move forward by pushing backward on the floor, the air, or some
C. You must build your vehicle from scrap materials. Don't use a ready-
D. The path of your vehicle should stay within a width of 1 meter.
E. You are not allowed to interfere with the movement of your vehicle.
You cannot give your vehicle a push as you launch it, and you cannot
help it in any way as it travels from the starting line to the finish
F. You cannot use any form of electricity or the pull of gravity to move
your vehicle. This means that you cannot use a downhill ramp to get
your vehicle started.
G. You may use a "track" such as a toy car track or a string running from
the starting line to the finish line to guide your vehicle. Not only
will this help reduce friction, but it may also help you to keep your
vehicle within the boundaries.
H. Your vehicle does not have to move along the ground. If your vehicle
moves through the air, you could use a string stretched between two
chairs as a"track" to guide your vehicle.
I. Vehicle can be no bigger than 24 x 12 x 12 (LxWxH)
No smaller than 12 x 6 x 6
Written and Oral Requirements:
1. Initial Design with power source list
2. 2nd Design with Newton Laws Applied
3. 3rd Design with Friction and Gravity Forces applied
4. Testing Worksheet
5. Vehicle Demonstration including poster size diagrams of your vehicle
that illustrate the forces that act upon it.
6. Explanation of Vehicle:
a. How your vehicle works
b. You should also be able to explain any modifications that you
made to improve the performance of your vehicle.
Project Hints and Suggestions
There are several sites that offer help, designs or ideas for building a
Newton Vehicle. If you chose to use the material you must print out the
online information and include it with your initial design. (Yes, I know
every site and design available online) Extra credit will be given to
original ideas and to those who use online sources but are able to
manipulate substantial changes to create a better vehicle.
Here are some ideas for materials to build your vehicle: recycled materials
home, toys or building-block sets, balloons, springs, straws, fishing
1. Be creative! Don't limit yourself to vehicles that have wheels. Think
about other ways that you could get your vehicle to move a distance of
2. The rules state that the vehicle has to stay within a width of 1
meter, but it is allowed to leave the ground!
3. What happens if you inflate a balloon and release it into the air? Can
you use Newton's third law of motion to explain this movement? How
could you use the balloon's movement to push your vehicle? Can you
think of any other objects like this that you could use to push your
Monday, October 30 Idea List
Wednesday, November 1 Initial Design
Friday, November 3 2nd Design with Newtons Laws applied
Monday, November 6 3nd Design with Friction and Gravity forces
Wednesday, November 8 Testing Worksheet
Friday, November 10 Newton Vehicle Evaluation Sheet
Monday, November 13 Demonstration & Presentation
Newton Vehicle Testing
New cars aren't released to the public until after they have been tested
Often, this stage of development can take months as the engineers and
designers change features on the car to improve performance and safety.
After you complete your vehicle, you too will need
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