Students can develop a feel for momentum through experimentation. However, it is only by dealing with it mathematically that they can see the power of prediction which comes from the principle of conservation of momentum. A mathematical approach is also needed to distinguish between the concepts of momentum and kinetic energy.
Students’ understanding of Newton’s laws of motion will deepen once they can think of them in terms of momentum.
On the whole this topic is better approached through experiment rather than through computer simulations (which could be used later to reinforce the ideas).