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

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 10/05/2017 - 20:05

A widely used experiment for studying Newton’s Second Law of Motion makes use of a Half-Atwood machine.  In this experiment a cart on a horizontal surface is tied to a mass hanging over a pulley.  Upon releasing the hanging mass, the cart begins to accelerate.  The magnitude of this acceleration is a quantity of great interest as it relates to the amount of the hanging mass.  In this lesson, a Half-Atwood machine is constructed using parts from LEGO®’s Simple & Powered Machines Set.  Voyager is mounted to the back of the cart with its IR sensor facing a large piece of white foam board.  The pulley holder is mounted to the table. 

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Half-Atwood Experiment
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Grade Level