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Magnetic Free Fall


Source Institutions

    The Exploratorium

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Magnetic Free Fall

In this activity, learners use a pencil, magnets, and mat board to illustrate Newton's Second Law. Learners will observe as gravitational and magnetic forces act on two falling objects to produce an unexpected result. This activity can be used as a demonstration if the pencil device is constructed ahead of time.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration

Language:
English

Materials List (per student)


  • pencil
  • 2 ceramic "donut" refrigerator magnets
  • 2 squares of mat board with 1-inch sides
  • paper punch, one-hole

Subjects


  • Physical Sciences
    • Electricity and Magnetism
      • Earth's Magnetic Field
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
      • Acceleration
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

Other


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access

By:

  • Rathjen, Don

Rights:

  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium, ©2009

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