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This is an activity about Newton's First Law of Motion - a body in motion tends to stay in motion, or a body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. Learners will create a water whirler from a piece of cardboard, some string, and a cup of water. When whirled fast enough, the centripetal force acting on the cup and water keeps it from falling off the cardboard! Included are educator tips about applying the activity to everyday life. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on Archive.org. Activity write-up only, images are unavailable.]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • A strong piece of cardboard cut into a 6 inch square
  • Hole punch
  • Two 1 meter (3 foot) pieces of string
  • A plastic cup
  • Several pennies
  • Water (if you do this outside)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Acceleration
      • Newton's Laws
      • Rotation Motion


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • TryScience