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Today’s experiment will demonstrate Newton’s Second Law of Motion.
Newton’s Second Law of Motion: Acceleration is produced when a force acts on a mass. The greater the mass (of the object being accelerated) the greater the amount of force needed (to accelerate the object).
SIMPLY: Pushing or pulling an object produces acceleration, a change in the speed of motion. Believe it or not, an accelertion can be a slowdown OR a speedup. The heavier the object, the more force it takes to make that object speed up or slow down. It takes more of your strength to push a bowling ball one foot than it does to push a marshmallow one foot. In this video, an astronomer demonstrates Newton’s Second Law of Motion. Or read this eBook, a brief introduction to gravity and motion. Physics explains how a roller coaster moves.
Comet Cratering Experiment
This experiment is a demonstration of Newton’s Second Law of Motion
- Pie Pan or Other Dish with Sides
- Hot Chocolate Mix
- 3 Sizes of Marbles or Rocks
Put several spoonfuls of flour in the bottom of the pan and spread it out to make a level surface. Then sprinkle a thin layer of hot chocolate mix on top of the flour. Now hold one marble/rock above the surface of the flour and drop it. Do the same with the other two marbles/rocks. Now carefully lift each marble/rock out of the flour and look at the impact crater. Which marble/rock made the widest impact crater? Which one made the deepest impact crater?
Science Project Idea:
Do this experiment again. Use three different sizes of marbles. Marbles are great for this project because they are round, which makes measuring the size of the impact crater easier. Remember that in a science experiment you want to test only one variable. In this experiment we only want to change the size/weight of the object that is falling. If we changed the shape of the object too, it would be hard to measure the difference in the impact craters.
While doing the experiment, pay close attention to how far away the marbles are from the surface of the flour before you let go of them. Use a ruler to make sure you drop each marble from exactly one foot above the surface of the flour. Do the experiment three times using the same three objects. The three times you repeat the experiment are called trials. Make a chart to keep track of the results. After each trial measure the width of the impact crater made by each of the three marbles. Which marble makes the largest impact crater? Which marble makes the deepest impact crater? Why do you think so?
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