Physics - Newton's Three Laws of Motion

Tug of War is an example of which of Newton's Laws?

Physics - Newton's Three Laws of Motion

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Sir Isaac Newton was born in 1642. He was a British physicist whom many refer to, even today, as the greatest physicist the world has ever known. Newton was fascinated with movement in nature. Movement that included such things as why rocks will fall off of a cliff or how the planet orbits the sun or why is it that heat will rise upward while cold falls downward? His studies led him to discover that there were three basic laws that covered all motion. These three laws are known as Newton’s Three Laws of Motion.

The three laws of motion are below.

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Newton’s First Law of Motion (also known as the Law of Inertia) is that in order for motion to occur with any object or to make that object move, there must be a force applied to that object. This force that is applied is known as inertia. In addition, in order for movement to stop its motion, there must be a sufficient amount of force applied to stop the object’s forward momentum. Force is any action that will cause an object to change its speed (velocity) and/or the direction in which it is moving. Momentum is “mass in motion.”

An example of Newton’s First Law: Objects will remain in a state of rest (no movement) unless and until a force is applied to it such as an airplane. Without the force provided by jet fuel, the airplane would not move. The amount of force that is used by the jet engines propels the airplane forward and the continued force (inertia) increases the velocity of the airplane until it is able to lift off of the ground. If you remove that force, the plane will fall and cease its motion. Remove the force, you stop the motion.

Newton’s Second Law of Motion is that there must be a defined relationship between force, acceleration and mass. Acceleration is the rate of change through time while mass is the quantity of inertia that is exhibited or possessed by an object. The stronger the force exerted upon an object will directly affect the acceleration of an object. In addition, the weight of an object, or the mass of an object will also affect the degree to which that object will accelerate. Finally, other forces come into play that can impact the acceleration of an object.

An example of Newton’s Second Law: Looking again at the airplane discussed in Newton’s First Law, the mass of the airplane directly relates to the amount of force that must be exhibited in order to move the plane forward and then to accelerate its velocity. This acceleration of the mass also encounters the mass of wind which must be overcome in order for the plane to reach the required velocity (speed) in order to be lifted off of the ground. It must also overcome the force of gravity which wants to keep the airplane on the ground. In order for the airplane to move as it is intended, it must have a defined relationship between the amount of force needed, the acceleration needed and how much mass must be pushed through and carried in order for the plane to take flight.

Newton’s Third Law of Motion is the simple understanding that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, if you pull on a rope, the rope is also going to be pulling back on you by way of its mass or, in other words, the gravity of the rope will pull back on you. Gravity is the force of attraction that exists between two objects. It is gravity that will cause rocks to fall from a cliff.

With this quick review of Newton’s Three Laws of Motion, see if you can find the right answers to the following ten questions. Some can be tricky so pay attention to what action or actions are taking place in order to determine the correct law it falls under.
1.
Why do rocks fall from a cliff?
Gravity
Velocity
Acceleration
Inertia
The gravitational forces exerted upon rocks cause them to fall off or down from cliffs. Answer (a) is correct
2.
This is mass in motion.
Momentum
Inertia
Gravity
Velocity
Momentum is “mass in motion.” Answer (a) is correct
3.
Which of the following would be an example of the Second Law?
Need to have cold liquids
Need to have blankets
Need to wear seatbelts
Need to consume foods
The human body is a mass and when in a vehicle, as the vehicle accelerates a force is placed on the body. Because the acceleration of a vehicle can change suddenly, the amount of force applied to the body would make the body continue forward in acceleration unless a separate force, i.e., a seatbelt, is used to stop that forward momentum. This is an example of the defined relationship between force, acceleration and mass. Answer (c) is correct
4.
Who is the physicist who determined the laws of motion?
Galileo
Albert Einstein
Leonardo da Vinci
Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton is the physicist who determined the laws of motion. Answer (d) is correct
5.
This is any action that will cause an object to change its speed.
Force
Velocity
Mass
Gravity
Force is any action that will cause an object to change its speed. Answer (a) is correct
6.
Which Law best explains how boats work?
Third Law
Gravitational Pull
First Law
Second Law
Objects will remain in a state of rest (no movement) unless and until a force is applied to it. A boat will stay in one place. Once a force is placed upon the boat, such as through engine fuel, the boat will begin to move forward. It will take another force to stop its forward momentum. Answer (c) is correct
7.
Which of the following would be an example of Newton’s Third Law of Motion?
Sleeping
Running
Playing tag
Tug of war
Answer (a) is an example of Newton’s First Law as a sleeping person is at rest. Answers (b) and (c) are examples of Newton’s Second Law in that they involve an exhibited force, acceleration and mass (the mass being the bodies and air, the force being the bodies’ energy pushing the bodies forward, and then the acceleration of running that takes place in both activities). Answer (d) displays the Third Law in that for every action there is an opposite reaction. In tug of war two people or teams of people pull on a rope. As one side pulls, the other side pulls back causing an opposite reaction. Answer (d) is correct
8.
This is the rate of change through time.
Velocity
Force
Acceleration
Mass
Acceleration is the rate of change through time. Answer (c) is correct
9.
Which of the following would be an example of the First Law?
A speeding train
A bike
Climbing rocks
A running stream
Newton’s First Law states that objects will stay at rest until a force is acted upon them. In the answers above, Answers (a), (c) and (d) are referring to motions that are taking place whereas answer (b) is referring to a stationary bike that has no force exerted upon it. Because it is stationary, it is an example that falls under Newton’s First Law. Answer (b) is correct
10.
The force that is applied to an object is known as _____.
acceleration
velocity
gravity
inertia
The force that is applied to an object is known as inertia. Answer (d) is correct
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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