Jar Races

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In this physics activity, learners will gain a better understanding of how friction, inertia, and mass affect objects. Glass jars containing various masses and materials are rolled down three ring binders, to determine what effects the contents of a jar have on variables such as momentum and friction.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 Identical Clear Jars with Screw on/off Lids
  • Three Ring Binders
  • Water or other substances you would like to fill the jars with such as sand, syrup, etc.


  • Physical Sciences
    • Energy
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Acceleration
      • Rotation Motion
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, COSI Collumbus, 2009