Monday, May 9, 2016

Newton's Laws

We are winding down the year in science and with the freshmen, I'm teaching Newton's Laws.  Some years, we run out of time for the fun activities that can be done with these laws.

Some years I run out of energy to do fun activities at the end of the year.

For the First Law, we have 10 Inertia demonstrations and activities that the kids get to try from pulling a table cloth out from under a set of dishes to knocking a playing card out from under a nickel balanced on your finger.  There are two different sizes of paper towel rolls and the kids pull on them equally to see that the smaller one is easier to get going but once you get the bigger one started it is harder to stop.  They think I'm crazy when the towel rolls and rolls and leaves a huge pile on the floor.  You balance a stack of pennies on your elbow and then swing your arm down quickly to catch them before they fall on the floor.  It's noisy and messy and fun.

We did a marble rolling activity to talk about mass and acceleration.  Again, noisy and fun and I got them to do some math without complaining!

Today we had balloon races to demonstrate Newton's Third law, the action-reaction law.  Air pushes on balloon, balloon pushes on air and that's why it zooms across the room on the string.  I was actually surprised more kids didn't pop their balloons.  I told them the story about when I was 10 and had my un-birthday party.  We always had a party in the summer for my friends because I was sick on my actual birthday most years.  I'm a December baby and having a summer party was really fun.  Every year we had a different theme for the gifts we gave away.  One year it was dolls and I remember picking out the one with the really big eyes because she was kind of ugly and I knew nobody else would like her.  Well, this year, the theme was balloons.  Special, huge balloons.  I had picked out my favorite, a really big one with farm animals all over it.  So, when it was time to get the prizes, I ran down to the den to grab my balloon and hugged it really tight.  Not the best idea because it popped in my face!  Ever since then, I've been traumatized by popping balloons.

So, the kids are sensitive to me and popping balloons.  They can be nice sometimes :)

But, I got them to calculate the acceleration and force on the balloons and have some fun at the same time. Not an easy task with only 3 1/2 weeks of school left.  It's days like this that make me remember why I love my job.

Tomorrow we start research on bridges and spend the next couple of weeks making bridges out of toothpicks.  Then we get to break them!  An awesome way to end the school year.

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