Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide


Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Newton's First Law

Lab Summary

Use a motion sensor to determine the influence of force in the motion of an object, and that an object’s motion is unchanged in the absence of an external force.


This experiment investigates the concepts surrounding Newton's First Law of Motion. Students observe a simple cart and track system to determine the influence of force in the motion of an object, and how the absence of an external force means an objects motion is unchanged.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Measuring the velocity of a cart while it undergoes three different forms of motion: constant zero velocity, constant non-zero velocity, constant non-zero acceleration.
  • Comparing the velocity associated with each form of motion to determine whether a net force is acting on the cart.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Motion Sensor


The PASPORT Motion Sensor accurately measures position, velocity, and acceleration of a target. Can be used to track the motion of carts, balls, people and more.

Materials Used:

Dynamics cart

Dynamics track

Dynamics track end stop

Mass and hanger set

Super pulley with clamp

String ~ 1 m

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Physics Starter Sensor Bundle


A sensor bundle specifically designed to get you started using probeware in your physics lab. Also: perform 26 of the 37 Lab Activities from Physics through Inquiry.

Option 2:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.