Crash Test

We took science to the sidewalk this week with our study of inertia.

We started with a toy car and a review.  Does the car go if you just put it on the sidewalk?  Heck no.  Push car with hand What made the car go now?  A push, a force.
Then came the neat part.  So why did it stop? This took some serious investigation.  At first the suggestion was because I took my hand off it but I showed them how far it went even after I took my hand.  Slowly we worked our way around to friction and the ground pulling on the car.
 Once we established what friction does, we added a new term, inertia.  I explained that everything keeps moving until something stops it.  Just like nothing moves until something makes it.  That is called inertia.  We put a ball in the skate and watched what happened.  The ball started at the center of the skate then moved to the back.  I explained this was because I pushed the skate but the ball did not move until the skate pushed it. 

Next we replaced the ball with Curious George.  We showed what happened to George when the skate crashed into something and he was not buckled in.
And then we buckled him and tried the test again.
We had tons of fun making George safe.
We also read “The Broken Window” in Einstein Anderson, Science Detective. I like this series because it provides a mystery that is solved using real science. In this case inertia.


  1. Very cute way of teaching beginning physics! What fun!

  2. Lots of fun! That book looks great too.

  3. OH, I'll have to see if I can find the Einstein Anderson book.


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