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.

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LEGO Atwood Machine
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Grade Level