Scientific Law Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Shoshana Yarin

Shoshana has taught all grades with an emphasis in science and has a master's degree in science.

There are many written laws that keep us safe. A scientific law is a little different. For example, all things falling to the ground and the Sun rising and setting can be described with scientific laws. Read this lesson to learn more.

What is a Scientific Law?

Buckle your seatbelt, wait for the 'Walk' light to cross the street, throw your trash in the trash can, and make sure your dog is on a leash - these are all laws we are supposed to obey. But what exactly is a scientific law?

A scientific law describes something we can see happening in nature under certain circumstances. A scientific law gives us information about the relationship between two or more things and explains what will happen between them if conditions are right.

For example, if you drop an apple, you can watch it fall to the ground. That's a relationship between the object and the Earth. But it only works if the conditions are right - meaning, if you're on Earth. If you're in space, the apple will just float away. But on Earth, we can drop apples all day long and they will each fall to the ground because of a scientific law called the law of gravity.

All Things Fall to Earth

Laws You Might Know

Gravity is certainly not a new idea. Maybe you have heard of Isaac Newton? Mr. Newton did a lot of experiments to decide gravity was a law. Usually a law has a mathematical formula that goes along with it. In other words, it is very predictable, or you can guess what is to be expected under certain circumstances. Gravity has a mathematical formula so that we can predict how long and how fast something will fall. That comes in handy if you are a skydiver!

Roller Coaster Upside Down!
Roller Coaster

There are many scientific laws. You might already be familiar with some of them, like gravity. Mr. Newton also came up with a set of very famous laws about how things move. Can you quickly slide a piece of paper out from under a book without moving the book? What happens to you when someone slams on the brakes in a car? How can people go upside down in a roller coaster without falling out? Those ideas come from Newton's three laws of motion. Newton described with mathematical formulas how things move, stop, and react to each other using measurements like mass, force, and acceleration.

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