In the last few years, I have started the force unit off with demos, seat experiments, discussions, and conceptual questions. This year I decided to make a summary page for some of the activities we have done. They are first drafts, I can’t draw worth a darn, my handwriting is near illegible, and I unfortunately drew them on scrap paper with some dark images on the back. But, here they are. Not in any particular order.

This is an activity in which a cart with a dual-range force sensor (DFS) is wiggled back and forth in front of motion detector (MD) Students did this as a seat experiment in their groups.


Two strings stabilize a cart on a ramp. When the ramp is removed, the cart is stationary.

Incline Plane

Two blocks are suspended from pulleys with a spring scale inserted into the string. The students can’t see what the spring scale reads at first. This was presented as a puzzle, along with a ranking task of similar subject from this book

Tension Force

An optical lever magnifies the motion of the wall when a human presses on it. this was a whole-class demonstration.

Surface Force

A student jumps off of a force plate while it is collecting data. This was also a whole-class demo.

Force Plate

Several friction “seat experiments” are done with blocks, force sensors, and LabQuest 2s.


A HoverPuck (trade name “Kick Dis”) or a bowling ball is given a brief push and glides across the floor at a nearly constant velocity. This was a class activity, with a number of students participating.


A Newton’s 3rd Law demo with two force sensors and LabQuest2s was a final seat experiment.



About marcreif

I live and teach high school physics in the town I was born in, Fayetteville, Arkansas. My professional interests include modeling instruction and Advanced Placement courses. I also work as a College Board Workshop Consultant, which means I lead Pre-AP and AP Science Teacher workshops. Lately I've also been leading a fair amount of student review sessions for the National Math and Science Initiative. I have a website for students ( and another for AP Summer Institute participants ( I tweet infrequently (@marcreif).
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