
Precalculus Physics Project: posted 2/18/03
Force = Mass x Acceleration !Students calculated the mass of a pickup by measuring the force required to push it, and the resulting acceleration. Mass = Force / AccelerationForce was held constant by using bathroom scales at 20 lbs. per student pushing. F = 3 pushers x 20 lbs x (1 kg/ 2.2 lbs) x (9.8 m/s/s) = 267 N
Acceleration was measured by marking the pickup's location at 3 second intervals. Velocity = Distance / Time ( Ten 3second intervals were measured)
Acceleration = Final Velocity  Initial Velocity ( For each 3second interval.)
Accelerations were averaged to find a mean value for A. ( A = 0.08 m/s/s )
Mass = Force / AccelerationMass = 267 N / (0.08 m/s/s) = 3336 kgWeight = 3336 kg x (2.2 lbs/kg) =7054 lbs
The student drove to the local grain elevator and had the pickup weighed. The official result was 6640 lbs. % Error = (Calculated Value  Actual Value) / Actual Value% Error = ((7054  6640) / 6640 ) x 100 = +6.2%Students completed calculations and wrote an essay about the experience. Calculations based on 2003 data. 
Email: cindy.kroon@k12.sd.us K12 Data Center DDN Common Core Standards (CCSSM) 