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Balanced Forces and Unbalanced Forces

Experiment #2 from Physics Explorations and Projects

Education Level
High School


The goal of this activity is for students to understand the connection between constant velocity motion and zero velocity with balanced forces, and non-constant or accelerated motion with unbalanced forces.

In the Preliminary Observations, students observe an object moving under the influence of zero net force and an object moving under the influence of unbalanced forces. We recommend that you do this as a whole-class activity. Students then design an experiment and compile evidence for a connection between constant velocity and balanced forces as well as a connection between changing velocity and unbalanced forces.


  • Design and perform an investigation; draw a conclusion from evidence
  • Identify constant velocity motion and motionlessness as an indication of balanced forces
  • Identify any change in velocity (speed or direction) with unbalanced forces

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #2 of Physics Explorations and Projects. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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