Physics instructors recognize the value of kinesthetic experience in learning fundamental physics concepts. We describe a kinesthetic experiment appropriate for both college and high school physics students. The experiment helps students achieve an intuitive understanding of Newton’s second law in a way they find quite enjoyable. It was devised by one of us over 20 years ago and has been performed by thousands of students at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and by students at some Los Angeles area high schools. Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) call for high school students to be able to analyze and interpret data and to understand Newton’s second law, which are central to this experiment. The experiment gives students a feel for Newton’s second law by requiring them to adjust their own motion so that they move at constant acceleration in order to maintain a constant force on a cart carrying a second student.

1.
E.
Mylott
 et al, “
Kinesthetic activities for the classroom
,”
Phys. Teach.
52
,
525
(
Dec.
2014
).
2.
P.
Pantidos
and
S.
Patapis
, “
Kinesthetic transverse wave demonstration
,”
Phys. Teach.
43
,
344
(
Sept.
2005
).
3.
B.
Whitworth
,
J.
Chiu
, and
R.
Bell
, “
Kinesthetic investigations in the physics classroom
,”
Phys. Teach.
52
,
91
(
Feb.
2014
).
5.
V.
Coletta
, “
Reaching more students through Thinking in Physics
,”
Phys. Teach.
55
,
100
(
Feb.
2017
).
6.
Thinking in Physics
, http://www.thinkinginphysics.com.
7.
V.
Coletta
,
Thinking in Physics
(
Pearson
,
Boston
,
2015
).
AAPT members receive access to The Physics Teacher and the American Journal of Physics as a member benefit. To learn more about this member benefit and becoming an AAPT member, visit the Joining AAPT page.