Newton’s Second Law of Motion – Comet Cratering

Newton’s Second Law of Motion – Comet Cratering

Find More Science Experiments

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:

What You Need:srpcometsetup2

  • Pie Pan or Other Dish with Sides
  • Flour
  • Hot Chocolate Mix
  • 3 Sizes of Marbles or Rocks
  • Spoon

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?

srpcometflour srpcometchocolate srpcometthree


srpcometcrater srpcometcompare1


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 rule 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?

Giants of Science: Isaac Newton Isaac Newton and Physics for Kids Gizmos and Gadgets Give It a Push Give It a Pull
Print This Post Print This Post

49 Responses »

  1. Nice, but I needed something more. Not really an experiment, but something acually related to newton’s second law of motion! BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Thumbs down!

  2. this was very helpful now i got a project to do that is due tommorow about newtons second law

  3. This was really helpful. thanks a lot! I have read a lot of articles about this law bu i could not understand one thing they were saying. thanks to you guys i actually get it. a teacher helped me to get an idea of what it was but he couldn’t have helped me any further. i would’ve liked it if you had used simple items, you see we have no access to such an equipment.

  4. This is great! I am using this experiment tomorrow to teach my class of 11 homeschool students ages 6-10. This will be perfect!

  5. its a waste of time. it is not at all simple to do. it is the most dumbest experiment.

  6. Thx. You had me understand the concept, but how does this demonstrate Newton’s 2nd law?

  7. Hi @carrie !!!
    Could you explain how exactly this relates to the second law?
    I’m having difficulties explaining it for a project. I need to use the words constant, increasing/descreasing, force, mass, and acceleration in my explanation! Would you be able to help me?

  8. sorry this will not help me i’m in 5th grade and an experiment really won’t help i need more explaining.

  9. Could you please explain how this relates to Newton’s 2nd Law? There is no video and the explanation isn’t coming very easily to me.

  10. Here’s what I think 🙂

    Force= mass x acceleration

    The greater the mass, the greater the acceleration, the greater the impact. Because the marbles are different sizes but being dropped from the same height, the impact will be different. The largest marble will make the largest crater. Because it is closed in, the marbles stop at the ground/pan and the third law is enacted- equal and opposite reaction. The ground/pan is pushing up with the same amount of force as the marble. Therefore, large marble makes a large crater because of the amount of force.

    Hope this helps 🙂

  11. This is very helpful. Thank you. I have a project due tomorrow and there is not a lot of experiments for Newton’s 2nd Law. So thank you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

one × two =