Playing with Gravity
Big objects, little objects, squat objects, flat objects -- gravity doesn't discriminate! Teach your little scientist the amazing powers of gravity by comparing the falling speeds of two yummy fruits. She may be surprised at the results.
What You Need:
- Playground structure
What You Do:
- Before both of your scramble onto the playground structure, sit down with your child. Take turns weighing the watermelon and apple in your hands. Does she know which one is heavier?
- Ask your child to imagine both the watermelon and the apple falling from the tallest point of the playground structure. Which fruit does she think will fall faster. Most people -- not just children -- think that heavier objects fall faster than lighter ones.
- Have your child climb to the tallest point of the play structure. Make sure she doesn't go higher than the structure is actually intended to be climbed.
- Hand her the watermelon and the apple and help her balance one in each hand.
- Let her drop both fruits at the same time. Which one hit the ground first? (Hint: if this experiment is done correctly, both watermelon and apple will smack the ground at the same time.)
- Is your child surprised? How can both the big, bulky watermelon and the tiny apple fall at the same speed?
- Explain gravity's pull. The same force that keeps you and her stuck to the earth, pulls the watermelon and the apple to the ground. Gravity doesn't have a stronger pull heavier objects; the pull is equal. That's why all objects fall at the same rate. It wouldn't matter if you dropped a big bowling ball and a ping pong ball -- they would both hit the ground at the same time.