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written by Eugenia Etkina
supported by the National Science Foundation
This learning cycle features 24 videotaped experiments, organized sequentially for introducing Newton's Laws in introductory physics courses. Each video includes learning goal, prior information needed to understand the material, and questions to elicit critical thinking. The instructional method is based on cognitive apprenticeship, in which students focus on the process of science by observing, finding patterns, modeling, predicting, testing, and revising. The materials were designed to mirror the activities of scientists when they construct and apply knowledge.

See Related Materials for links to the full collection by the same authors and for free access to an article explaining the theoretical basis for this instructional method.

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Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Newton's First Law
- Newton's Second Law
= Force, Acceleration
= Interacting Objects
- Newton's Third Law
Education Foundations
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Problem/Problem Set
= Unit of Instruction
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Learners
- video/quicktime
- text/html
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Free access
© 2003 Rutgers University
ISLE, Investigative Science Learning Environment, action/reaction, force, force pairs, inertia, inertial frames, interacting forces, physics videos, video clips
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 3, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 19, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 19, 2008
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

1. The Nature of Science

1B. Scientific Inquiry
  • 9-12: 1B/H1. Investigations are conducted for different reasons, including to explore new phenomena, to check on previous results, to test how well a theory predicts, and to compare theories.
  • 9-12: 1B/H2. Hypotheses are widely used in science for choosing what data to pay attention to and what additional data to seek, and for guiding the interpretation of the data (both new and previously available).
  • 9-12: 1B/H9. To be useful, a hypothesis should suggest what evidence would support it and what evidence would refute it. A hypothesis that cannot, in principle, be put to the test of evidence may be interesting, but it may not be scientifically useful.

2. The Nature of Mathematics

2C. Mathematical Inquiry
  • 9-12: 2C/H2. Much of the work of mathematicians involves a modeling cycle, consisting of three steps: (1) using abstractions to represent things or ideas, (2) manipulating the abstractions according to some logical rules, and (3) checking how well the results match the original things or ideas. The actual thinking need not follow this order.

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
  • 9-12: 4F/H2. All motion is relative to whatever frame of reference is chosen, for there is no motionless frame from which to judge all 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/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

10. Historical Perspectives

10B. Uniting the Heavens and Earth
  • 9-12: 10B/H1. Isaac Newton, building on earlier descriptions of motion by Galileo, Kepler, and others, created a unified view of force and motion in which motion everywhere in the universe can be explained by the same few rules. Newton's system was based on the concepts of mass, force, and acceleration; his three laws of motion relating them; and a physical law stating that the force of gravity between any two objects in the universe depends only upon their masses and the distance between them.
  • 9-12: 10B/H4. For several centuries, Newton's science was accepted without major changes because it explained so many different phenomena, could be used to predict many physical events (such as the appearance of Halley's comet), was mathematically sound, and had many practical applications.

12. Habits of Mind

12B. Computation and Estimation
  • 9-12: 12B/H3. Make up and write out simple algorithms for solving real-world problems that take several steps.
  • 9-12: 12B/H4. Use computer spreadsheet, graphing, and database programs to assist in quantitative analysis of real-world objects and events.
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.
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E. Etkina, (2003), WWW Document, (
E. Etkina, Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Newton (2003), <>.
APA Format
Etkina, E. (2008, September 19). Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Newton. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
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Etkina, Eugenia. Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Newton. September 19, 2008. (accessed 24 July 2024).
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Etkina, Eugenia. Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Newton. 2003. 19 Sep. 2008. National Science Foundation. 24 July 2024 <>.
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@misc{ Author = "Eugenia Etkina", Title = {Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Newton}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {24 July 2024}, Month = {September 19, 2008}, Year = {2003} }
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%A Eugenia Etkina %T Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Newton %D September 19, 2008 %U %O video/quicktime

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%0 Electronic Source %A Etkina, Eugenia %D September 19, 2008 %T Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Newton %V 2024 %N 24 July 2024 %8 September 19, 2008 %9 video/quicktime %U

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A link to the full collection of learning cycles for introductory physics by the same authors.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is Based On ISLE: Investigative Science Learning Environment

This is the website for ISLE (Investigative Science Learning Environment), the instructional approach upon which the Rutgers learning cycles for introductory physics are based.

relation by Caroline Hall

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