Friday, July 9, 2010

Newton's Laws and a Bucket of Water

We are still having great fun blasting our water rocket high into the air. So far, we've only had to retrieve it from the neighbor's yard once. But, while we had the hose on, and our minds turned to Newton and his 3 Laws of Motion, I thought we'd take on a simpler experiment, for the younger kids.

I had T fill a bucket part way with water, and demonstrate to the little ones how the water would spill out, pulled by gravity, if he tipped it over.

Then, much to their amazement, they watched as he spun the bucket, in quick circles, up and over his head, without getting wet.

I explained to the little ones, that the water was in motion, and wanted to keep moving in a straight line, through the bottom of the bucket (Newton's 1st Law of Motion). So, even when the bucket is upside down, and gravity is pulling the water out, the force of the motion, keeps it pressed against the bottom of the bucket.

I tried to get T to demonstrate what would happen if he stopped the bucket above is head, but he remembered enough about the lesson from when he was younger, to refuse.

If you do this experiment with your own children, remember to use a bucket with a sturdy handle, or you will end up inadvertently demonstrating centripetal force, instead.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

I see that your lessons are well remembered. I have to try it out - it's a lot quicker than building a rocket!

Debbie said...

I love his quick NO, to showing them what happens if he would stop swinging the bucket while over his head! At least you can say your kids learn from their well planned lessons!

Tereza Crump said...

hi there, just found your blog. really cool your experiments. thanks for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

I myself am a homeschooler!! I just don't see many people so I think it's awesome that the whole family gets to do it together... LUCKY!!!!