PocketLab Voyager/LEGO®: A Study of the Atwood Machine

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 17:57

Students study the Atwood machine to verify Newton’s Second Law of Motion.  In this machine, two hanging masses are tied to the end of a string that loops around a pulley.  The larger mass then moves downward with a constant acceleration, while the smaller mass accelerates upward.  The magnitude of this acceleration is a quantity of great interest as it relates to the values of the two masses.  In this lesson, an Atwood machine is constructed using parts from LEGO®’s Simple & Powered Machines Set.  Voyager is mounted to the bottom of the larger mass with its IR sensor facing a large piece of white foam board on the floor.  The range finder data is collected to show that the acceleration is proportional to the mass difference.

LEGO Atwood Machine
Grade Level