Raw or Boiled Egg Experiment

Description:  This is a simple experiment to demonstrate the idea of inertia. Students could be given eggs that are both raw and boiled and they could use evidence to support the identity of the labeled eggs. In the raw egg the yolk and fluid act as independent objects and so they will continue moving when the egg is briefly stopped.

Web Resource:  Newton’s First Law - the Physics Classroom


Amazing Rube Goldberg Machines

Description:  Rube Goldberg machines are named after American cartoonist Rube Goldberg who drew complicated steps involved in doing a fairly simple task (like pouring milk in a glass). Students can study these machines, or build their own, to show how energy can be converted through a series of interactions. In lower elementary classes they might be shown or built to show how pushes or pulls can change the motion of objects. As they move through school they should start to identify specific collisions, interactions, and conversions of energy.

Web Resources:  Rube Goldberg Machines - Wikipedia


Giant Newton's Cradle

Description:  The coupled pendulum can be created with either string or a spring connecting the two pendulums. With each swing energy is transferred from one pendulum to the other. If the pendulums both have the same length one pendulum comes to a complete stop before alternating motion. This phenomenon can be used to show balanced and unbalanced forces, how motion can be used to predict future motion, and the conservation of energy.

Web Resources:  Giant Newton’s Cradle Website, Wikipedia article


Magnetic Cannon

Description:  The magnetic cannon contains four spaced neodymium magnets in a channel.  Two balls bearings are placed between each ball bearing.  When a new ball bearing is introduced a transfer of energy occurs and the final ball bearing leaves with a higher initial velocity than the first.  This is a great phenomenon for studying transfer of momentum and the energy of an object based on its position within a magnetic field.

Web Resource:  Magnetic Challenge with Bozeman Science