Motion – a continuous change in the location of a body. Change in motion is the result of applied force. Motion is typically described in terms of velocity, acceleration, displacement, and time. An object’s momentum is directly related to the object’s mass and velocity, and is conserved within a system, as described by the law of conservation of momentum.

Newton’s three laws of motion (images) explain the effect of forces on the motion of objects. The forces that act upon an object determine how the object will move or change the way it moves.

Newton’s Laws of Motion (video 12:00) This NASA video explores Newton’s laws and the development and operation of airplanes. Watch an instructor at NASA’s National Test Pilot School as he describes and then demonstrates why seatbelts are an important force on pilots; what it means to pull 2, 4 and even 6 g in a jet; and how the thrust of a jet engine causes an aircraft to move forward.

Newton’s First Law of Motion
In this Science of NFL Football video segment (3:52), NBC’s Lester Holt looks at Newton’s First Law of Motion and the role that unbalanced forces play whenever a ball carrier goes head to head with a defender. …play

  • Inertia in Our Lives – introduces the law of inertia through fun demonstrations, activities, and a funny YouTube video. Analyze the role of inertia and unbalanced forces in various activities, sports, and life.

Newton’s Second Law of Motion
NBC’s Lester Holt and former NFL kicker, Morten Andersen, look at what’s really behind powerful field goal kicks – Newton’s Second Law of Motion. …play

  • Newton’s Second Law of Motion & Kicking – Learn about Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion and how it applies to field goal kicking and punting. Analyze forces acting on a ball and determine whether the forces are unbalanced and whether the object is accelerating.

Newton’s Third Law of Motion
NBC’s Lester Holt looks at Newton’s Third Law of Motion and the role that conservation of momentum plays whenever players collide on the football field. …play

  • Newton’s Third Law, Force Pairs – introduces students to Newton’s 3rd Law. Focuses on misconceptions regarding action and reaction pairs, and emphasizes that force pairs occur simultaneously.

Science of NFL Football:
Pythagorean Theorem
Science of NFL Football: Geometric Shapes – Spheres, Ellipses & Prolate Spheroids
Science of NFL Football: Kinematics – Position, Velocity & Acceleration
Science of NFL Football: Vectors
Science of NFL Football: Projectile Motion & Parabolas


What’s the problem?
Working in Space (video 4:50) – The sensation of weightlessness that astronauts experience seem to make their tasks almost effortless. However, as Newton’s third law of motion suggests, working in space can be physically demanding. This video segment illustrates the significance of Newton’s law to space-walking astronauts and the engineers who design their spacecrafts.
That’s engineering

  • Acceleration – A change in velocity (that is changing speed and/or direction of travel).
  • Accelerometer – A device for measuring acceleration or force. These are related by Newton’s second law: force = mass * acceleration

Engineering ideas

  • acceleration, accelerometer, applied force, velocity, displacement, time, momentum, mass

Do it
Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • AccelMeter(measurement utilities, app, free) – using the inbuilt accelerometer and magnetometer to their limits. The range of the accelerometer typically has a max of ±3g (~4.2g displayed here if combined).

Learn more…