Help kids develop a basic understanding of how gravity functions with this activity.
- Apples (one whole, one cut in half)
One way to start this activity is by having your students discuss what they already believe about gravity. Then it's time to get started with the heavy lifting (and dropping)!
Show your students the two apples. Have them discuss whether they believe the whole apple or the half apple will hit the ground first if you drop them from the same height at the same time. Then drop them! They should both land at the same time because all objects descend at the same speed! This might be hard for students to believe even after they see it. You can have them close their eyes and listen to the thumps to give them a chance to understand.
Use this experiment to encourage students to think about what gravity is and what it does. You can help reinforce what they're learning with the information in this lesson called, What Is Gravity?.
Students can conduct this experiment to learn even more about the power of gravity.
- Cups (plastic or Styrofoam)
What to Do:
This experiment is messy, so make sure you choose your location wisely. Distribute cups and scissors to your students and have them make some holes near the bottom of their cups. Have them consider what will happen if they pour water in the cups. Then discuss what might happen if they drop the cup full of water.
Then it's time to get a little wet!
Fill the cups with water and have your students drop them. The water will end up spilling all over the ground. This is because gravity will pull the water out of the holes. But, it won't spill out of the holes once the cup is dropped! Once gravity pulls on the cup, both the cup and the water will fall at the same speed.
Help your students learn more about the physical laws related to gravity with this lesson on Newton's Laws and Weight, Mass and Gravity. Introducing this topic with this experiment can keep students interested in the scientific information they're absorbing.