Grade Range
9th-12th
Group Size
3
Total Time
45 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
collisions, conservation of momentum, mass, velocity, applying equations
Credits
TeachEngineering logo

Overview

In this activity, students examine how different balls react when colliding with different surfaces. Also, they will have plenty of opportunity to learn how to calculate momentum and understand the principle of conservation of momentum.

Engineering Connection

Sports engineering is becoming a popular specialty field of study. While some engineers dedicate their research to understanding collisions between balls and bats, others study the effects of a golf ball colliding with the head of a golf club. And, mechanical engineers consider momentum and collisions when designing vehicles. Learning how the human body and equipment interacts with the ball during impact or how the human body interacts with the inside of a car during a crash, helps engineers design better sports equipment and safer vehicles.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • HS-PS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking. Use mathematical representations of phenomena to describe explanations.
PS2.A: Forces and Motion. Momentum is defined for a particular frame of reference; it is the mass times the velocity of the object.

If a system interacts with objects outside itself, the total momentum of the system can change; however, any such change is balanced by changes in the momentum of objects outside the system.
Systems and System Models. When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined.

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Grade Range
9th-12th
Group Size
3
Total Time
45 minutes
Area of Science
Physics
Key Concepts
collisions, conservation of momentum, mass, velocity, applying equations
Credits
TeachEngineering logo
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