Grade level: Upper elementary
Program description: Forces are pushing and pulling against all objects
all the time. Students will explore the effects of gravitational forces, as well as Newton’s Laws of Motion. Experiments illustrate each principle with students defying gravity, shooting rockets and cannons, racing objects of differing masses, as well as predicting and observing results of friction. During the presentation, students will:
1) investigate and describe gravity as a force dependent on the mass of an object
2) predict and explore the effect of gravity on objects of dissimilar mass
3) define and experiment with Newton’s three laws of motion
4) predict and observe outcomes of motion experiments.
Note: Curriculum alignments based on requirements for Hamilton County, Tennessee including 3.11.spi.1, 3.11.spi.3, 3.11.spi.4, 4.11.spi.1, 4.11.spi.2, 4.11.spi.4, 5.11.spi.1, 5.11.spi.2, 5.11.spi.3
Pre-visit activity – Explore inertia
Hard boiled egg
What to do:
1. Set the raw egg on its side on the plate. Spin the egg. Lightly touch the egg with your finger to stop
it. As soon as the egg stops, take your finger away. What happens to the egg?
2. Set the hard boiled egg on the plate. Spin the egg. Lightly touch the egg with your finger to stop it.
As soon as the egg stops, take your finger away. What happens to the egg? Did the two eggs behave differently? Why?
The Outcome: When the raw egg is spun, the yolk and white inside the egg spin too. Your finger stops the shell from spinning, but the white and the yolk continue to move due to inertia. When you remove
your finger, the moving contents make the egg start spinning again.
The yolk and white of the hard boiled egg are solid and stop spinning when the shell stops.
Post-visit activity – Explore friction
Plastic or metal tray
What to do:
1. Place the bottle top at one end of the tray. Using your finger and thumb, flick the bottle top so that it skims across the tray. Count how long it takes to reach the end of the tray.
2. Pour a small amount of oil on the tray and spread it all over the surface of the tray. Flick the bottle top across the surface again. Count how long it takes to reach the end. Which tray (with or without the oil) allowed the bottle top to travel faster and farther?
The Outcome: The oil lubricates the surfaces (stops them from rubbing directly on each other) which reduces friction. This allows the bottle top to move more freely.