Exploring Momentum with Marbles and Balls - momgineer

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Exploring Momentum with Marbles and Balls


Hands-on Force and Motion Exploration 


This is a fun activity I set up one morning for my kids; it's one that requires little input from you because they will quickly come up with many ways to set it up.



What you need:
  • marbles or balls
  • scale
  • train tracks, car tracks, etc.
  • tape measure (optional)
I gathered marbles and small balls and we weighed them on a kitchen scale to see which ones had the greatest and least mass. We then set up two heavy marbles of different mass on the wooden train track (you could use car track, or something like clear tubing, or whatever else you think of!). We put the lighter marbles of the same mass on the incline and let them go and watched what happened when the lighter marbles hit the heavier ones. We then lined up a lot of marbles close together and let a heavy marble go and collide with them. Ask your children what they think will happen. They might be surprised to see the transfer of momentum.

Weighing the different marbles and balls.
Setting up the experiment.
We used a tape measure to see how far the different marbles would go.
We tried it with lots of marbles!
You can set it up any way your child wants to try it.
We even tried with a huge wooden ball.
This was such a big hit that they asked to do it over and over again!

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This activity was something I did with my children when they were quite young (preschool age), but what a GREAT activity for learning about force and motion in a hands-on way. The physical activity is fun for younger and older kids alike, and you could even ask upper elementary school children to predict how far different marbles will roll based on their mass.
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

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