Physicists study matter – all of the “stuff” in the universe and how that “stuff” moves. One of the most famous physicists of all time was Sir Isaac Newton. Sir Isaac is most famous for explaining gravity, a concept we are so familiar with now it seems obvious to us. He is also famous for explaining how stuff moves in his Three Laws of Motion. Today we are going to look at Newton’s First Law of Motion called Inertia. This law states that a still object will stay still unless a force pushes or pulls it. A moving object will stay moving unless a force pushes or pulls it.
Gravity and friction are forces that constantly push and pull the “stuff” on earth. So, when we roll a ball, it slowly comes to a stop. On the moon, where there is less gravity and friction, “stuff” floats, and keeps floating. Try one of the experiments below to see Newton’s first law of motion in action.
- Experiment: Steve Spangler Egg Drop
- Experiment: Steve Spangler Tablecloth Trick
- Experiment: Steve Spangler The Coin Drop
- Experiment: Bill Nye Pages of Inertia
- Experiment: Hunkin’s Experiments Inertia Cartoon
Websites, Activites & Printables:
- NASA: Newton’s First Law of Motion
- Why Don’t I Fall Out When a Roller Coaster Goes Upside Down?
- Video: Khan Academy Newton’s First Law of Motion
- IndyPL Blog: Newton’s Second Law of Motion
- IndyPL Blog: Newton’s Third Law of Motion
You can ask a math and science expert for homework help by calling the Ask Rose Homework Hotline. They provide FREE math and science homework help to Indiana students in grades 6-12.
e-Books and Audiobooks
Use your indyPL Library Card to check out books about Sir Isaac Newton at any of our locations, or check out Sir Isaac Newton e-books and audiobooks from OverDrive Kids right to your device! If you have never used OverDrive before, you can learn how to use it for both e-books and audiobooks.
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Newton’s Laws of Motion: The Science Behind How Things Move
Newton’s Laws of Motion explain force and motion, or why things move the way they do. They are great concepts to explore by doing a science experiment. These are especially good science project ideas for kids who like to move! The concepts can often be explained using sports equipment or by understanding how amusement park rides work. These books offer ideas for physics experiments that demonstrate force and motion and the laws that govern them. Some of them provide the background information needed for the report that is often required to go with projects for the science fair.