In a physics lesson when you ask the question “What force makes a car accelerate?” the most frequent answer you get from your students is “The force of the engine.” Obviously, the role of the engine is important, but the acceleration is dependent on external factors, since an object cannot exert a force on itself to change its own momentum. Even a car with a very powerful engine will be unable to start on ice or in deep mud or sand. On the other hand, a weak engine is unable to make a heavy car move. In this paper, we present a simulation-backed approach supporting the teaching of this topic in secondary school. The simulations were created in the free program Algodoo.

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