Here are two easy science projects for kids that can demonstrate how gravity works.
“What goes up must come down.” People have known this simple fact for years – anyone who has ever fallen down the stairs can tell you all about it!
But it wasn’t until Isaac Newton got bonked in the head with a falling piece of fruit that we understood the rules that govern the process.
Shape and Weight
In this very simple science experiment for kids, we’ll ask whether two objects with different shape but the same weight fall at the same rate.
- Aluminum foil
- Postal scale (optional)
1. Come up with your hypothesis – do you think two objects that weigh the same will fall at different rates if they are different shapes? Why or why not?
2. Cut out two squares of aluminum foil roughly 8-12 inches on a side. Make sure they are the same size!
3. Fold your aluminum squares in half and crease the fold.
4. Label one of the pieces “1” and the other “2”
5. OPTIONAL: If you have a postal scale, weigh the two pieces of aluminum foil to make sure they are the same weight
6. Hold the two pieces of aluminum at the same height and drop them. Record which one hits the ground first. If they seem to hit at the same time, write down “tie”
7. Repeat step 5 until you have done it 10 times – which one hit the ground first the most often? What was the percentage of the time that it hit first?
8. Now roll one of the pieces of aluminum into a small ball. Repeat step 5 until you have done it 10 times.
9. Did that change the results? Or did it change the percentage? Was your hypothesis confirmed?
*TIP: you can expand on this project by trying out different shapes with the aluminum foil: try folding one into an airplane shape, or into a star! Many science projects for kids can be generated based on this model.
Center of Mass
Here are additional science projects for kids that teach the principle of center of mass, which determines whether an object falls down or stays up.
- 1 ping-pong ball
- 2 squares of white paper (roughly 3×4 inches)
- modeling clay
1. Cut the ping-pong ball in half.
2. Fill one half of the ping-pong ball about 2/3 of the way up with modeling clay
3. Draw faces and arms on the pieces of paper – keep in mind that they will be rolled into tubes, and try to draw accordingly (adults can pencil-in templates to ensure proper spacing)
4. Roll up the pieces of paper and place them inside the halves of the ping-pong ball. Secure with tape.
*TIP: Other science projects for kids can be to repeat the experiment with two more clowns. In this variant, the other two clowns will have “caps” made of halved ping-pong balls. One cap will have clay in it, the other not – does this change the results?
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