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Become a Master of Inertia

Source Institutions

    Ontario Science Centre

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Become a Master of Inertia

In this activity, learners explore inertia as they attempt to whip a strip of paper out from under two coins dangling on the rim of a water glass. This is a safer and cheaper version of the popular tablecloth trick that has an equal "awe factor." Use this activity to illustrate the properties of inertia and momentum. [Activity is publicly available through a web crawler capture on]

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Demonstration


Materials List (per student)

  • a heavy water glass
  • a strip of newspaper long enough to reach over the rim of the glass and hang over the edges
  • 2 pennies
  • a ruler


  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Momentum and Velocity
      • Newton's Laws
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Ontario Science Centre, ©2011