How to make a toy car move using Newton's third law of motion

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How to make a toy car move using Newton's third law of motion
Use toy cars of similar size. (toy wooden cars image by Christopher Hall from

According to Newton's third law of motion, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This law can be demonstrated with toy cars. You can move one toy car by rolling a second one into it. The force of the first car pushing on the second is equal to the force with which the second car moves forward.

Things you need

  • 5 toy cars
  • Yardstick

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    Test a stationary car

  1. 1

    Set one car next to the end of the yardstick on a flat surface.

  2. 2

    Roll a second car forcefully into the back of the first car.

  3. 3

    Measure how far the first car moved along the yardstick.

    Test two moving cars

  1. 1

    Place each car on opposite ends of the yardstick.

  2. 2

    Using two hands, simultaneously roll both cars into each other with force.

  3. 3

    After the cars collide, measure how far they roll back in opposite directions.

    Test with multiple cars

  1. 1

    Line up four cars beside the yardstick. Each car should touch the one in front of it.

  2. 2

    Forcefully, roll one car into the back of the line of cars. Count how many cars roll away from the line-up.

  3. 3

    Line up three cars along the yardstick.

  4. 4

    Holding two cars front to end, roll them together forcefully into the three lined up cars.

  5. 5

    Count how many cars roll off the end of the line-up.

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