Marble Physics

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What You Need:

  • Marbles
  • Flat surface

What You Do:

  1. Talk about Newton’s Third Law of Motion with your child. It's a law of physics with an intimidating title, but the facts are actually pretty simple. For every action, there has to be an equal and opposite reaction. More simply, whenever you do something, something else has to happen.
  2. Even if your child can't grasp the wording of this law, he can see it with his own eyes. Have him pick out two marbles.
  3. Let him set the "target" marble on one end of the flat surface.
  4. Have him shove the second marble towards the "target."
  5. When the moving marble and the stationary marble collide, what happens? Explain that the "target" marble was acted upon by the other marble. Something happened to the "target" marble, and the "target" marble reacted to it. It would be impossible for any marble to get hit and not react.
  6. Try setting up other marble experiments with your child to demonstrate Newton's law. What would happen if two marbles collided that we're both moving? How would that equal and opposite reaction take place.

If your second grader is curious for more scientific explanations, dive into energy's place in this physical demonstration. The first marble's energy is transferred to the stationary marble -- that's why the stationary marble moves or jumps. How does your future scientist think a stationary marble would react if the speed or energy of the moving marble incerased? Try it out!

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