Things moving, stuff staying put, buildings standing tall or falling down… All of this is the work of forces.. This week we’ll be looking at different forces and how they affect the world around us. From launching catapults and going down water slides to spinning buckets and simple machines, knowing about forces and how they work is essential to understanding our world. Come with us as we look at pushes, pulls, and spinning forces!
Online Videos: Use these links to educate and entertain!
- Early Elementary: Pushing and Pulling
- Upper Elementary: Swings, Slides, and Science
- Middle School: What Forces Are Acting On You?
- High School: Centrifugal Force Does NOT Exist
Build a Catapult – This activity tests your physics skills! A catapult is a simple machine used by many different groups of people throughout history. It relies on Newton’s laws of motion. When you pull down on the lever arm, potential energy is stored up. Release the arm, and this potential energy is converted to kinetic energy. Gravity also pulls your projectile (a pom pom) back to the ground.
Centripetal Force – Why do you seem to get pushed against the car door when you take a sharp turn? Why don’t you fall out of a roller coaster when going upside down through a loop? The answer to both of these are centripetal force—a force that’s all around but often not well understood!
Magnetism – In this activity, kids learn about the Earth’s magnetic field and magnetizing objects by making a simple magnetic compass. They then explore the relationship between electricity and magnetism by making and testing small electromagnets.