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Cart on a Ramp

Figure from experiment 3B from Physics with Vernier


This experiment uses an incline and a low-friction cart. If you give the cart a gentle push up the incline, the cart will roll upward, slow and stop, and then roll back down, speeding up. A graph of its velocity vs. time would show these changes. Is there a mathematical pattern to the changes in velocity? What is the accompanying pattern to the position vs. time graph? What does the acceleration vs. time graph look like? Is the acceleration constant?

In this experiment, you will use a Motion Detector to collect position, velocity, and acceleration data for a cart rolling up and down an incline. Analysis of the graphs of this motion will answer these questions.


  • Collect position, velocity, and acceleration data as a cart rolls freely up and down an incline.
  • Analyze position vs. time, velocity vs. time, and acceleration vs. time graphs.
  • Determine the best fit equations for the position vs. time and velocity vs. time graphs.
  • Determine the mean acceleration from the acceleration vs. time graph.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Physics with Vernier »

Experiment 3B from Physics with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Physics with Vernier</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

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