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Here are some challenging multiple choice questions I have asked my student this year… figured I’d share.

For each situation below, circle all of the statements that you would identify as accurate scientific statements about the situation. You can circle more than one explanation as scientifically accurate. If you think none of the statements are scientifically accurate, then select only that option.

Situation #1

A heavy stone and a light stone are dropped from the same height. Both reach the ground at the same time, because

(A) The gravitational force from the earth is the same on all objects independent of their mass

(B) All objects fall toward the earth with the same constant speed

(C) The heavy stone is so large that the air below it pushes up on it, causing it fall slower than it would otherwise

(D) Each stone experiences a downward force proportional to its mass

(E) I believe that none of the above explanations are scientifically accurate

Situation #2

A heavy cart moves quickly along a horizontal track and then crashes into a light cart, which is at rest. During the collision, the light cart changes its speed much more than the heavy cart changes its speed, because

(A) The heavy cart exerts a much larger force on the light cart than the light car can exert back on the heavy cart.

(B) The heavy cart carries with it a very large force that is imparted onto the light cart

(C) The light cart has such a small mass that it responds with a very large acceleration in response to the force exerted by the heavy cart.

(D) It is easier to change the motion of objects that are stationary than objects that already are moving.

(E) I believe that none of the above explanations are scientifically accurate

Situation #3

Two identical sleds move along frictionless tracks. One of the sleds is moving faster than the other sled. Circle any statements you believe to be scientifically accurate statements about the situation.

(A) The faster sled carries with it a greater force than the slower sled does.

(B) The faster sled must have experienced a larger force in the past that that slower sled experienced in the past.

(C) The faster sled is currently experiencing a larger force that the slower sled is currently experiencing.

(D) The faster sled must be lighter than the heavier sled.

(E)  I believe that none of the above explanations are scientifically accurate.

Situation #4:

A sled is pushed along a horizontal frictionless track in such a way that it speeds up at a constant rate. This could happen if

(A) A constant force is applied to the sled in the direction of motion

(B) A force of decreasing magnitude is applied to the sled in the direction of motion

(C) A force of increasing magnitude is applied to the sled in the direction of motion

(D) No forces are applied to the sled

(E)  None of the above conditions would make it possible to speed up the sled.