Newton's Second Law of Motion - force equals mass times acceleration
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Newton's Second Law of Motion

Pitcher

Newton's Second Law of Motion tells us that

Force equals mass times acceleration.

You can tell how hard a moving object is going to hit by knowing how big it is (how much mass it has) and how fast it is speeding up (its acceleration). For instance, if the pitcher throws the ball to the catcher, how hard it hits the catcher's glove depends on how much mass the ball has and whether it is speeding up or slowing down when it gets to the glove. You can make something hit harder either by making it bigger or by throwing it faster.

Learn by doing: a project with momentum
Newton's Third Law

Bibliography and further reading about Newton's Laws of Motion:

Gravity
Momentum
Friction
Physics
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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