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Laws of Motion Activities for Kids

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Looking for some fun and exciting ways to have students take an active role in learning about the laws of motion? This lesson contains several activities that are sure to make learning about motion meaningful and engaging.

Laws of Motion: One Person to Thank

When it comes to the modern conception of the laws of motion, we have one person to thank: Isaac Newton. Although many scientists have studied motion since Newton's time, he is the one that gets the credit for publishing about motion most substantially and getting the ball rolling, so to speak. The activities that follow are designed to allow students to explore Newton's three laws of motion in hands-on, engaging ways. Some of these are quite active, so be sure to remind students of safety practices!

Stopping Rolling Objects Activity

This activity is a great way to introduce students to the concept of inertia, as outlined in Newton's First Law of Motion. Students will learn that objects will continue moving until an outside force acts on them, and that objects with more mass will take a greater amount of force to start or stop.

Gather a number of objects that can roll. Ensure that some have a very low mass (like a table tennis ball) and some have a very high mass (like a bowling ball). Have student pairs roll the objects to each other. When stopping the objects from rolling, have students take quick notes about how easy it was to stop each object. Then, hold a whole-class discussion centered about the idea of inertia and forces. If you start with this activity, you can reference it throughout your unit on motion.

Car Racing Activity

For this activity, you will need small cars (Hot Wheels cars work great) and something to use as a ramp (in a pinch, grab some textbooks). Tell students that they will be racing the cars to see how quickly they can cross a finish line you create with tape on the floor. You can either do this by timing each student, or you can have them race in heats.

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