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written by Richard Hake
This page contains a full lab procedural on the topic of Newton's First and Third Laws of motion and force-motion-vector diagrams.  Socratic Dialog-Inducing (SDI) Labs are "guided construction" labs featuring hands-on experiments in introductory mechanics.  They are carefully designed to promote the Socratic Method of inquiry, in which oppositional viewpoints are openly discussed to stimulate rational thinking.  The contradictory view is often presented by a master teacher or, in this case, by the author of the lab manual.  The effectiveness of this method in promoting student crossover to the the Newtonian World has been demonstrated by rigorous pre-post testing.

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Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Newton's First Law
= Inertia in Motion
= Measuring Inertia
- Newton's Third Law
= Action/Reaction
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Cooperative Learning
= Problem Solving
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Laboratory
= Student Guide
- Reference Material
= Research study
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- Educators
- application/pdf
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© 2001 Richard Hake
Newton's Laws, free-body diagram, inertia, inertial reference frame, kinematics, lab, reference frames, socratic Dialogue, touch-body diagram, vectors
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created December 30, 2008 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 19, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
March 15, 2008
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

12. Habits of Mind

12A. Values and Attitudes
  • 9-12: 12A/H1. Exhibit traits such as curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism when making investigations, and value those traits in others.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 9-12: 12D/H6. Participate in group discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and expressing alternative positions.
12E. Critical-Response Skills
  • 9-12: 12E/H4. Insist that the key assumptions and reasoning in any argument—whether one's own or that of others—be made explicit; analyze the arguments for flawed assumptions, flawed reasoning, or both; and be critical of the claims if any flaws in the argument are found.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

High School — Number and Quantity (9-12)

Vector and Matrix Quantities (9-12)
  • N-VM.1 (+) Recognize vector quantities as having both magnitude and direction. Represent vector quantities by directed line segments, and use appropriate symbols for vectors and their magnitudes (e.g., v, |v|, ||v||, v).
  • N-VM.3 (+) Solve problems involving velocity and other quantities that can be represented by vectors.
  • N-VM.4.b Given two vectors in magnitude and direction form, determine the magnitude and direction of their sum.

High School — Algebra (9-12)

Seeing Structure in Expressions (9-12)
  • A-SSE.1.a Interpret parts of an expression, such as terms, factors, and coefficients.
Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities (9-12)
  • A-REI.1 Explain each step in solving a simple equation as following from the equality of numbers asserted at the previous step, starting from the assumption that the original equation has a solution. Construct a viable argument to justify a solution method.

High School — Functions (9-12)

Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models? (9-12)
  • F-LE.1.b Recognize situations in which one quantity changes at a constant rate per unit interval relative to another.
  • F-LE.1.c Recognize situations in which a quantity grows or decays by a constant percent rate per unit interval relative to another.
  • F-LE.5 Interpret the parameters in a linear or exponential function in terms of a context.

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Key Ideas and Details (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
Craft and Structure (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 11—12 texts and topics.
  • RST.11-12.5 Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)
  • RST.11-12.8 Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
  • RST.9-10.10 By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 9—10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
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R. Hake, Socratic Dialog-Inducing Labs: Newton's First and Third Laws (2001), <>.
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Hake, R. (2008, March 15). Socratic Dialog-Inducing Labs: Newton's First and Third Laws. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
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Socratic Dialog-Inducing Labs: Newton's First and Third Laws:

Is Part Of Socratic Dialog-Inducing (SDI) Labs

This is the full collection of SDI labs developed by the same author.  Included are labs on kinematics, Newton's Second Law, circular motion, rotational dynamics, and angular momentum.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is a Teaching Guide For Physics Classroom: Newton's Third Law

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