Saturday, October 19, 2013

Demonstrating Newton's Laws of Motion to Children

Inertia, rate of change of momentum, action-and-reaction pairs... all right, don't worry if you have no idea what Newton's Laws of Motion are all about, and I am not going to explain these to my 5-year-old Pei Pei. The whole idea is just to let children experience the wonders of Forces.

Materials: One small and one big bottle caps

Experiment #1
The small cap was placed on top of the big cap. I flicked the big cap out. Guess what happened to the small cap on top? It didn't move forward with the big cap, it landed on the ground at its original position! It seemed that the small cap kept on doing what it was doing!

[Newton's First Law of Motion: An object at rest remains at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion in the same speed and same direction unless acted upon by an external resultant force]

Experiment #2
Pei Pei blew the cap. The cap could move further when she blew harder. And she had to blow harder to make the big cap move as compared to the small cap!

[Newton's Second Law of Motion: A force is proportional to the rate of change of momentum, and it is in the same direction as the change in momentum]

Experiment #3
Pei Pei flicked the cap using fingers, and she felt painful! So the cap must have exerted a force on her fingers!

[Newton's Third Law of Motion: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction]

May the Force be with the children!

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  1. Awww a cool experiment. Thanks!

  2. Wow! I am going to use this to explain to my kids.. Thanks for posting! Nischala

    1. Nischala, hope your kids would have fun with the experiments!